Interesting commentary in MSN’s money central site:
With the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yielding below 4% and 30-year mortgages available at 5.1%, there isnt a housing bubble
Mind you, I’m not saying that U.S. consumers don’t have too much debt, or that the U.S. economy isn’t dangerously dependent on the housing sector for growth, or that all the money sloshing around the globe isn’t encouraging dangerous speculation.
But those are different problems from the one getting all the headline attention at the moment.
It’s just that, for all the teeth-gnashing and pundit-moralizing, we really don’t have a housing bubble that’s anywhere near bursting. Current 10-year interest rates are just too low. And I certainly don’t see interest rates rising enough in the next year or so to burst a bubble, either.
To make that monthly debt burden onerous enough to trigger a burst in a housing bubble, you have to look for a big drop in family income so that while monthly debt payments remain the same, they take up a bigger chunk of a diminished family income.
Huh. And yet mysteriously prices peaked in 2005 and started falling without a big drop in family income. Very strange!
The other trigger would be a big increase in interest rates that would push the monthly debt burden up on average and would strike especially hard at those home buyers who used an adjustable or no-interest mortgage to buy more house than they could really afford.
This trigger was also a no-show. There was no big increase in interest rates, but for some reason the buyers stopped showing up. Can housing markets collapse under their own weight? And if there is no housing bubble what happened in the USA?
Well, as the saying goes, prediction is hard, especially when its about the future!
update: On the local market front, Ella points out this article in 24hours that shows buying in Vancouver may make more sense than renting as long as you use some very questionable math, disregard half the numbers and base the rest of the figures on silly assumptions.