The US housing market has now completely broken
The market for housing has reacted in a different way to the recent rise in mortgage interest rates. The strike of home sellers then boosted interest in newly constructed homes. Homebuilders were the brightest market. The lack of inventory held prices at a high. This enabled companies to make profit with healthy margins in order to lower the mortgage rates of buyers. This no longer seems to be the case. Buying down home-loan rates to 5.5 percent – the minimum required for prospective buyers – is easier around 7 per cent rather than 8 per cent. Confidence among builders is going the way of their stock prices and profit margins. This month the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo sentiment gauge dropped to its lowest point since January. Builders are likely to reduce their plans for production in the near future.
Multi-family housing starts also experienced relative stability earlier in the year, and units under construction were increasing as delays in supply chain kept projects from completion. The past two months have witnessed a notable drop-off – starts in September were down 31.5 percent year-over- the previous year. Moreover units under construction have decreased for the past two months, which suggests we’re over the top of this period. With fewer units starting and a shrinking number in construction renting will hinder growth in the economy for a long time into 2024.
The first time in a while since the Federal Reserve started raising interest rates, every part of the market for housing is poised to worsen.
Since early 2022, the resale housing market has been sagging as sellers are unwilling to surrender their mortgage rates that are low. New houses had offered buyers some relief. There was no need to worry. Homebuilders have been shattered by the recent rise in mortgage rates, which could reach as high as 8 percentage. Since profit margins are declining they’ll most likely reduce their building in the coming months. Construction of apartments has also been rolling into the past few months as developers are afflicted by the combination of slow rent growth and high financing costs.
The discontent of potential buyers is well known. What are the macroeconomic implications? Because of the significance of housing to overall activity, subdued residential construction should restrict the rate at which the economy can expand however not enough to cause a recession over the next few quarters. To the extent that the brutal sell-off in Treasuries has been in response to hotter-than-hoped-for economic data, a paralysed housing sector will offer some respite.
Investors need to be aware of this as the recent decline in Treasuries is a major shock. This is due to a robust consumer market and high expectations of real GDP growth during the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase. estimates that the economy grew by nearly 4 per cent last quarter. The bulk of the growth comes from housing, which should add to GDP growth in the first time since the beginning of 2021 thanks to this summer’s pickup in single-family home begins. This is unlikely to last into the coming quarter, or perhaps 2024, until interest rates decrease.
The return of student loan repayments as well as the United Auto Workers’ strike and the union that represents television and radio actors are just a few of the factors that could influence consumption.
The convergence may give investors some respite from the run of hot economic data, which has been weighing on both stocks and bonds as it bolsters the prospects of further monetary policy tightening. If that proves not to be the case, it could indicate that the economy and consumers have even more momentum than appreciated and is an unsettling scenario given that the highest costs for borrowing since mid-2000 have broken one market.