The math is truly daunting for would-be homebuyers: The difference between the mortgage payments and rents is the largest it’s been since the 2006 housing bubble that led to the Great Recession.
As mortgage rates have risen this year, the buyer demand for homes has fallen. That has spelled trouble for the home construction business. Homebuilder confidence dropped for the tenth straight month in October. The decline in builder sentiment reflects what economist Ian Shepherdson describes as “housing … in free fall.
The U.S. housing market is absolutely imploding, but nobody should be surprised. In fact, we were warned way ahead of time that this would happen. When the Federal Reserve told us that they would be aggressively raising interest rates, we all knew what this would do to the housing bubble. It was obvious that home prices would fall, home sales would plummet and home builders would get absolutely crushed. Sadly, that is precisely what we are witnessing. But instead of reversing course after witnessing all the damage that they have caused, Fed officials are insisting that even more rate hikes are necessary. So as bad as things are right now, the truth is that they are going to get even worse in the months ahead.
Analysts expected Case-Shiller Home Price growth to continue its modest deceleration in August (the latest available data in this heavily lagged and smoothed data set), but the result was a doozy: the 20-City Composite index tumbled 0.44% MoM, far below the 0.20% expected increase, and a sharp decline from the downward revised 0.19% increase in July; more importantly, this was the first sequential drop in home prices tracked by Case-Shiller since March 2012, or ten and a half years.
Last November, housing consultancy firm Zillow lobbed the first warning shot that the housing bubble had burst, when it shocked markets by firing 25% of its workforce, and announcing it had scrapped its robo-flipping program after losing hundreds of millions by allowing robots to buy and sell homes.
Privately‐owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,549,000. This is 14.4 percent below the revised April estimate of 1,810,000 and is 3.5 percent below the May 2021 rate of 1,605,000. Single‐family housing starts in May were at a rate of 1,051,000; this is 9.2 percent below the revised April figure of 1,157,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 469,000.