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Bank of America Forecasts Housing Market Turbulence, but No Crash

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Bank of America Forecasts Housing Market Turbulence, but No Crash

Bank of America economists are predicting potential turbulence in the housing market, but they do not foresee a crash on the horizon. In a note to clients, economist Jeseo Park highlighted recent developments that have raised concerns. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has reached its highest level in 23 years, impacting affordability. Additionally, a shortage of existing homes for sale has led to increased construction of new homes. The "lock-in effect" has also contributed to a squeezed existing homes market as homeowners hold onto their properties.

Factors Influencing the Market

Bank of America points to several factors that could contribute to housing market turbulence. These include sticky inflation, the Federal Reserve's interest rate hikes over the past 18 months, and a new age group entering the prime home-buying age. While the current mortgage debt as a percentage of disposable income is higher than in the 1980s, Park explains that the faster growth of home prices compared to income growth offers some explanation. Household balance sheets are currently in good shape, and leverage is not a major concern.

Avoiding a Repeat of the 2008 Crisis

Despite the expected turbulence, Park does not anticipate a housing crash similar to the one experienced in 2008. Mortgage debt as a percentage of disposable income is significantly lower than it was during that time, and mortgage debt to real estate assets has also decreased since 2010. However, the existing homes market remains constrained due to limited inventories, and the high mortgage rates and low affordability pose challenges for buyers. Home price growth has outpaced income growth since the start of the pandemic.

Future Outlook and Affordability

While the housing market may face short-term challenges such as high prices, strained inventories, and labor issues, Park expects affordability to improve as the Federal Reserve cuts interest rates. Many anticipate this rate-cutting cycle to begin in 2024. This could provide some relief to buyers, although turning to the new homes market may still present difficulties due to high mortgage rates and low affordability. As the housing market navigates potential turbulence, Bank of America remains cautious but does not foresee a housing crash. The market's performance will depend on various factors, including the Federal Reserve's actions and the balance between home prices and income growth.

Implications for New Business Formations

The potential turbulence in the housing market, as forecasted by Bank of America, presents a unique set of considerations for new business formations, particularly those in the real estate and construction sectors.

Understanding Market Dynamics

The current housing market conditions, marked by high mortgage rates, a squeezed existing homes market, and rapid home price growth, underscore the importance for startups to understand and adapt to market dynamics. These conditions can impact various aspects of business, from customer demand to pricing strategies.
Preparing for Market Turbulence
The anticipated turbulence in the housing market highlights the need for new businesses to be prepared for potential market fluctuations. This includes developing robust business strategies, maintaining financial flexibility, and staying informed about market trends and economic indicators.

Navigating Regulatory Changes

With the Federal Reserve's actions playing a key role in the housing market's performance, new businesses must stay abreast of regulatory changes. Changes in interest rates can significantly impact business operations, particularly for those in industries sensitive to interest rate fluctuations. As the housing market navigates potential turbulence, new businesses can draw valuable insights from the situation. Understanding market dynamics, preparing for market turbulence, and navigating regulatory changes are all crucial aspects of successfully starting and growing a business in a complex and changing economic environment.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/10/05/there-wont-be-a-housing-crash-just-some-turbulence-says-bofa.html
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