US housing market shows signs of life

The sluggish US housing market seems to be regaining its footing.

America's "sluggish housing market" seems to be "regaining its footing", says Lucia Mutikani for Reuters. Housing starts and building permits soared to a 12-year high in August. New-home sales were up 7.1% from the previous month. Interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve, which feed through into lower mortgage rates, are boosting demand.

A speculative bubble in US housing was at the heart of the 2007 sub-prime mortgage fiasco that preceded the global financial crisis. Zack Guzman on Yahoo Finance notes that between 1997 and 2005 the median US house price rocketed 75% in real terms, as measured by the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index. House prices then fell 33% and hit a nadir in the early 2010s. Yet as economist Robert Shiller notes, between 2012 and 2018 US house price have regained 35%. The US "is slowly returning to looking at housing as a speculative investment".

This is no bubble, says Justin Lahart for The Wall Street Journal. The housing recovery looks "underwhelming" given the broader health of the economy. The sector also faces long-term headwinds: "many millennials are saddled with high levels of student debt" and are thus wary of mortgages. "Combined new and existing home sales" are at the same level as they were in 2000, when the population was far lower. A country scarred by the housing bust has yet to regain its love of property.

Recommended

US inflation still shows no sign of fading
US Economy

US inflation still shows no sign of fading

Annual US inflation hit 7% in December, its highest since 1982, while core inflation rose to 5.5%. That suggests high price rises are going nowhere so…
21 Jan 2022
Cladding crisis: what new proposals for mean for housebuilders and leaseholders
Property

Cladding crisis: what new proposals for mean for housebuilders and leaseholders

The government is seeking an extra £4bn from house developers to fix the UK’s cladding crisis. Saloni Sardana explains how the new proposals affect bo…
17 Jan 2022
US inflation is at its highest since 1982. Why aren’t markets panicking?
Inflation

US inflation is at its highest since 1982. Why aren’t markets panicking?

US inflation is at 7% – the last time it was this high interest rates were at 14%. But instead of panicking, markets just shrugged. John Stepek explai…
13 Jan 2022
What does 2022 hold for UK house prices?
House prices

What does 2022 hold for UK house prices?

UK house prices are rising at their fastest rate since the financial crash of 2008. John Stepek looks at where they might go in the coming year.
7 Jan 2022

Most Popular

Ask for a pay rise – everyone else is
Inflation

Ask for a pay rise – everyone else is

As inflation bites and the labour market remains tight, many of the nation's employees are asking for a pay rise. Merryn Somerset Webb explains why yo…
17 Jan 2022
Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners
Investment strategy

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners

Under our system of shareholder capitalism it's not fund managers, it‘s the individual investors – the company's ultimate owners – who should be telli…
24 Jan 2022
Interest rates might rise faster than expected – what does that mean for your money?
Global Economy

Interest rates might rise faster than expected – what does that mean for your money?

The idea that the US Federal Reserve could raise interest rates much earlier than anticipated has upset the markets. John Stepek explains why, and wha…
6 Jan 2022