Listen to a just a handful of the stats about the housing market, and it’s easy to see why there’s lots of chatter about whether or not we’re in a housing bubble. While mortgage rate are still holding near historic lows — you can still find 15-year rates near 2% and 30-year rates near 3% — home prices rose 19.5% in September year over year, according to data released by Case-Shiller at the end of November. And the median home price now sits at around $354,000, according to the National Association of Realtors. But a number of experts say we’re not in a housing bubble, and instead are in for a continued rising of prices, though at a more gradual speed.
“To most consumers, a bubble in housing or any other investment is a run up in prices that is very rapid and that is relatively shortly thereafter followed by falling prices,” Realtor.com chief economist Danielle Hale says. “In these bubble cases, those who purchased homes or other investments when prices were high may see the value of their homes or other assets remain below their purchase price for years into the future.”
Housing prices alone don’t mean a bubble
But many pros say it’s unlikely we will see a collapse in home prices, because unlike in 2008, there’s not an oversupply of housing, and instead there is an undersupply: The National Association of Realtors notes that the U.S. has underbuilt housing by at least 5.5 million units, and Hale estimates that we’re about 5 million units short. In fact, she says we’re so under-built that we’re unlikely to see this change in the next five or six years, even if the current pace of construction were to double. Plus, that is happening at a time when supply chain issues are rampant, making many building materials and labor expensive. “With strong buying demand and under-building limiting the amount of housing supply,” Hale says, “we’re likely to see home prices remain high even if reduced affordability limits the pace at which they can grow.”
On the demand side, low mortgage rates — you can still find 15-year rates near 2% and 30-year rates near 3% — are enticing many to buy now and the remote work boom is leading to reshuffling as people reevaluate what they want and need in their home, says Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. That said, demand is slowing: Lenders issued roughly 3.59 million mortgages in the third quarter of 2021, down from 3.92 million in the second quarter. Concludes Nicole Bachaud, an economic data analyst at Zillow: “The factors driving home value growth are organic and sustainable and we are not at risk of a housing crash like in 2008.”
In an October report, Goldman Sachs also predicted a …….