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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Housing Predicted To "Cool Off" In 2006

Housing in the Northwest has continued to experience a climb in prices this year as other parts of the nation have stalled, but some are starting to see some cracks in the foundation, and predict that next year the housing market will "cool, but not collapse."

Nationally and locally, the sizzling housing market has been one of the major props of the economic recovery. Homebuilding has turbocharged the Northwest construction industry: As of November, 19.5 percent of all new jobs created over the previous 12 months in Washington and Oregon were in construction, even though that sector accounts for just 6.2 percent of all jobs.

Housing activity has also aided the region's lumber industry and boosted retail and professional-service jobs (all those new homes have to be furnished and paid for, after all). Soaring values have allowed consumers to tap the equity in their homes to support their spending: Last year, funds from home equity hit $599.5 billion and accounted for nearly 7 percent of all disposable income, according to the Federal Reserve.
So what's in store for housing next year? Will growing pressure on consumers slow down appreciation? One economist actually admits this is likely:
But as mortgage rates creep higher and the Fed continues to tighten interest rates, nearly all observers expect the housing market to cool off next year. The big question is how fast it will do so.

"A year ago, I was saying 'No, we're not in a bubble — fundamentals are driving it,' " said William Conerly, a Portland-based economist. "Now, I think we are.

"So many people are buying houses for investment purposes, or they're buying a vacation house because their stocks haven't been doing very much and they see everyone else getting rich in real estate."
I think it will be interesting to see what happens. If you have any specific predictions for the Seattle area in 2006, feel free to share them here.

(Drew DeSilver, Seattle Times, 12.20.2005)


biliruben said...

Where we are now:

So, it looks like prices may currently be topping out, but inventory continues to be extremely tight. This will change as it becomes apparant to the "investors" that appreciation has maxed-out.

I predict this will take 3-6 months of stagnant price appreciation.

Late spring we see inventories start to really build due hesitant buyers and cash strapped, panicky flippers.

Late summer to the fall 2006, prices start to slip.

2007, we see 10-15% median house prices, with Condos and high-end taking a bigger hit.

2008-2009, continued declines with a leveling out in 2009. Single family housing off 20-30% from their 2005 peak. High-end (million-plus) and condos have lost close to 50% of their value.

2010, a return to a more rational 4-5% growth in prices. I start to shop for a house.

Just a guess.

Van Housing Blogger said...

No real signs of a turn in Vancouver yet either. We've got construction cranes all over the city building condos. We might not see anything until the newly built condos start to flood the market in 2007. But, who knows?


Goldeneye977 said...

10-15% drop in prices?? You must be dreaming. This has never happened before in Seattle and don't think it will happen now. In the last crash SFO lost about 3.8% in 5 years. I would think the same would happen to Seattle, should this bubble burst. Today housing starts were up 5.9% so I think the housing bust may already be over. My gut feeling is that if the economy cools more than expected, the Fed is going to start lowering rates next spring and when that happens, housing may get a new life. This is what happened in Australia and UK. In fact, in the UK, housing after stalling for a while has started a double-digit ascent again.