MarketWatch contributor Greg Robb reports that the current housing boom doesn’t look like the credit-fueled bubble of the mid-2000s, according to a research article published by the San Francisco Fed.
The report notes that key to the contrast between the current run-up and the one that led to catastrophic losses at the end of last decade is that leverage ratios have improved. Even as prices have risen, mortgage debt-to-income ratios have declined. Robb writes:
The study comes as Fed officials debate whether the Fed should use interest-rate policy to combat any asset-price bubbles. Past and present Fed officials, including Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer are worried the Fed doesn’t have the proper tools to prevent a housing bubble. They have noted the Bank of England can set limits on loan-to-value and debt-to-income ratios on mortgages.
Also, check out Calculated Risk's Bill McBride on the same topic. He's got a laser-sharp filter for the key analysis in the SF Fed report here.