Why the U.S. Housing Boom Isn’t a Bubble

Wharton’s Benjamin Keys explains why the red-hot U.S. real estate market isn’t a bubble that’s ready to burst. Home prices are likely to stay high for years to come:

“In Philadelphia, the median home price has risen 48% in the last decade. In Atlanta, the median sale price of a metro home hit an all-time high in June of $372,500. Not to be outdone by big cities, Boise, Idaho, recently ranked as the nation’s most overvalued market, where homes are selling for nearly 81% more than they should.

While the red-hot real estate market is finally showing signs of cooling, its meteoric rise has many Americans wondering if housing prices are a bubble that is about to burst, much like the collapse that triggered the Great Recession.

Wharton real estate and finance professor Benjamin Keys says that’s not the case.

“I come down very strongly against that view. I don’t think that it’s likely that we’re going to see a bubble burst in the way that we saw in 2008, 2009, and 2010,” he said during an interview with Wharton Business Daily on SiriusXM. (Listen to the podcast above.)

Although the frenzied buying and inflated prices are reminiscent of the run-up to the recession, Keys said there are several factors that make the current market different. First, loan standards that were loosened during the bubble are much tighter now, with stringent requirements for good credit, complete documentation, and a sizeable down payment. In contrast, the pre-recession years were pocked with subprime mortgages, low teaser interest rates that ballooned, weak underwriting, negatively amortized construction, and other questionable practices.

Second, the boom of the early 2000s was also driven by a surge in home construction that led to abundant supply. But there’s been a building shortage over the last 10 years, especially in cities with high demand. The result is a supply-demand mismatch that can’t be resolved quickly or easily.

“I think there was a bit of a hangover coming out of that 2000 boom and bust, and we’re underbuilt in a lot of cities where there’s demand for jobs, where there’s demand for housing,” Keys said.”

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Posted by at 10:03 AM

Labels: Global Housing Watch


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