Monday, July 30, 2018

Is the housing market going to crash soon?

Every day, somebody tells me that the housing market is going to crash.  I am not an economist or statistician, so take the following with a grain of salt.  With all due respect to the experts, I just don't see the fundamentals necessary for a crash in the near future.  
  • First, yes, our housing price rises here in CA can't go on forever.  I said that in 2006, too.  Prices are now above what they were in 2008, though. Housing prices are high due to two factors in L.A.: 1) not enough inventory, and 2) there's a lot of money concentrated here.
  • Currently, unemployment is low.  It would have to go up by several points to have an impact on local housing sales.  Last time, it was 8%-9% before we saw a lot of foreclosures here.
  • Interest rates are still relatively low.  When I started in this business, interest rates for mortgage loans were around 8%.
  • Banks and lending institutions have tightened up quite a bit and are no longer giving mortgage loans to anybody that can fog a mirror.  Buyers now have to show that they can actually pay a mortgage back.
  • Even at the height of the Great Recession, home prices here in the Southland, in areas with desirable housing stock, low crime, and good schools, only went down an average of 8%.  Do the math -- even if there's a 10% price reduction, say, in Sherman Oaks, Studio City, or Burbank, an $800,000 home here will be selling for $720,000.  That's not really enough of  difference to make a home super-affordable.
Again, I'm not an expert, but I know what I see.  Could there be cataclysmic event that turns the market on its ear? Sure, but if that happens, we will all have bigger fish to fry than housing prices.  And on that cheery note...feel free to challenge my assumptions or ask questions.

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