A rise in the number of listed properties:
Abnormally low inventory levels boosted
prices throughout 2012 and part of 2013. However, inventories are beginning to rise.
The National Association of Realtors reported that inventory levels of unsold homes
rose in September from a year earlier, the first rise in inventory since 2011.
The release of shadow inventory:
In areas where foreclosures were the highest,like
Nevada, California and Florida, banks are now beginning to release more of their
foreclosures after holding them back for years in order to stabilize prices. Lower-priced
foreclosures, especially on homes built between 2001 and 2008, offer a much cheaper
alternative to buyers than new homes, even after factoring in the cost for repairs
and cosmetic improvements to the home.
Weak job creation:
Unemployment is still high at 7.3%, and many of the average monthly
jobs being created recently are merely part-time or service industry jobs with low
wages that are not conducive to growing home ownership. In fact, home ownership rates
have continued to decline in recent months. Some younger consumers are also shunning
home ownership, and are inclined to view renting as a more flexible and favorable life
style. Newer apartment complexes often cater to these consumers whims with in-ground
pools, fitness rooms, bike trails, etc. People pay more to have these benefits, but
seem unwilling to trade them for the lawn mower and backyard barbecue lifestyle of
Rising interest rates:
The decline in housing stocks over the second half of 2013
is directly attributable to talk of the Fed Tapering its monthly purchases of bonds,
and the resultant rise in interest rates that it produced. While no set decision has
been reached regarding how and when the Fed will begin to taper off on its purchases,
it would cause a sharp rise in interest rates in 2014. The one-two combination of rising
rates and home prices could land a knock-out punch to home builder stocks.
With the shaky roll out of the Affordable Care Act, there is a
great deal of uncertainty among consumers as to how much they will have to pay for health
insurance and medical costs. As young consumers in the 27 to 39 yearold age group begin
to pay more for health care, it will reduce the amount of money available to them to
save for housing related down payments and closing costs.