The New York Times was out Thursday with an analysis of why the housing market is at best sluggish amid a booming economy.
There’s no doubt that demographics are favorable for housing demand. The peak birth year for millennials was 1990; it’s a group that is turning 28 this year and thus entering prime years for home buying. As it happens, 28 is exactly the median response in a Bankrate surveythat asked adults for the ideal age to buy a home.
But that doesn’t matter if prices are out of reach relative to incomes. Moreover, lending standards have remained more rigorous than they were during the last housing boom, so it has been harder for people to stretch to buy a home. The inability of people to buy homes they can’t really afford is great news in terms of avoiding another crisis, but not so great for the near-term outlook for housing.
“Buyers can only stomach so many price increases until it gets unsustainable,” said Daryl Fairweather, the chief economist at the online brokerage Redfin. “Prices reached a breaking point where buyers were fed up and started to consider other options,” she said, including renting and moving away from the expensive coastal markets where prices are most out of whack with incomes.