The market has been fretting about real estate for over a year now. Numbers in the sector have been in a funk and there is a definite weakening occurring. However, that may prove short-lived as a new factor may slowly push that market back into a sustainable boom cycle. That factor is the grow of $15 per hour minimum wages across the US. Such wages are likely to significantly increase the earning power of millions of Americans, allowing many couples to afford to buy a home. For instance, a couple with one worker at Target and another at Bank of America could afford to buy up to a $300,000 home at the new wage levels.
FINSUM: If the new higher wage rate takes hold, it is likely to unlock a major source of untapped demand for housing.
How does a big global housing meltdown sound? Crappy. Well, that is exactly one of the things that the IMF is currently warning investors about. Americans will already be well aware of the several month downturn in real estate, but what is likely much less well understood is that many markets around the world, including emerging markets, look at risk of a major housing bust. One of the big worries of the IMF is that a real estate downturn will spark a banking crisis in overseas markets that could then bubble over to the rest of the world.
FINSUM: We don’t tend to think of real estate as a particularly globally-correlated asset class. However, the banking industry that underpins it certainly is, so the risk is definitely there.
Another day, another round of bad news on the economy. In what comes as another round of disappointing data, GDP for the fourth quarter was just revised downward from 2.6% to 2.2%, showing the economy finished the year on a softer note than expected. The data adds to the list of poor numbers—labor, housing etc—that have been hitting investors.
FINSUM: Weak economic and housing data have been flowing like a hose lately, and today is no different. This will only add to the downward momentum in yields.
Another month, anther patch of really rough data on the US real estate market. New data from December has just been released, and shows a clearly negative trend for the market. Housing starts dropped 11.2% in the month, and overall, the market saw the worst price growth (4.7% in major metropolitan areas) since 2014. Stock market turbulence and higher rates plagued the market at the end of 2018.
FINSUM: We have seen many months of deteriorating real estate performance. The big question now is whether the market can rebound in time for the peak spring selling season.
If one thing is really clear in the economy, it is that the housing sector’s momentum is clearly negative. Home sales slumped badly in November and then worse in December. Further, home buying traffic plunged too. This is not necessarily a surprise when you consider how much mortgage rates have risen, but contrasted with how well the labor market is doing, it is quite eye-opening.
FINSUM: We are going to come in with a contrarian viewpoint here. Consider these stats, all reported by Barron’s: “The median home value in December was $223,900, up 7.6% over the past year, according to real-estate listing service Zillow. That is up from about $150,000 in late 2011. Properties are sitting on the market an average of 78 days, down from 114 days in 2016. The mortgage delinquency rate is a low 1.1%, and just 8.2% of houses had negative equity—well below levels of a few years ago. The foreclosure rate has plunged to 1.2%, down from 6.3% in 2009”. That shows a very different picture!