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Kathryn Carlson's Blog

By Kathryn Carlson | Broker in 80209

Report Deflates Bubble Talk With Subdued Housing Forecast


by Broderick Perkins

Tempering bubble talk with more pragmatic foresight, Capital Economics says the housing market is due for a bit of a reality check, even as the recovery continues.

Recent double-digit, year-over-year price increases are set to ease later this year and slow even more in 2014 in a more sustainable alignment with earnings.

In a more liberal forecast than other real estate outlooks, Capital Economics says the pace of year over year home price gains will slow from the current 10 to 12 percent to 8 percent this year, but get halved to 4 percent in 2014.

How so? By three measures.

Double-digit price gains out of the housing recovery gate were never sustainable.

While housing remains under valued, housing bubble talk is premature, but the recent pace of price gains isn't sustainable. If prices continue rising at 12 percent, year-over-year, housing will be over valued relative to rents in the next few months and relative to incomes in early 2015.

Capital Economics says, "Combined with the assumption that mortgage interest rates settle at their current 4.2 percent level, mortgage servicing costs will rise by 2 percent to 3 percent of income each year. That could approach bubble territory.

Skyrocketing home prices are, in part, due to investors who are now leaving the spoils because they have to work harder to make investment deals pencil.

The latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey says the investor share of home buyers shrank to a little more than 20 percent in May, down from 22 percent in April.

That was the sharpest month-to-month drop in investor activity in more than three years, according to the survey.

Investor flight isn't temporary.

MemphisInvest.com says more investors plan to purchase fewer investment properties this year than last year.

In August 2012, 39 percent of investors planned to purchase more investment properties. By May 2013, that percentage was down to 20 percent.

Demand from traditional owner-occupants will need time to replace investors' demand; meanwhile the shift will take some heat out of the market.

Growing equity stakes are allowing more sellers to come to market. Inventories may have bottomed out in January and are up more than 6 percent since then.

The sharp increase in the share of consumers who think it's a good time to sell also indicates more homes are in the pipeline.

Tight supplies have been a major factor in double digit home price increases. As more homes come to market, price gains will slow, according to Capital Economics.

Published: June 27, 2013

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