With the real estate market experiencing surging prices, low inventory and a backlog of new home construction, many buyers are wondering if what’s gone up must come back down . . . . are we headed for another housing market crash?
The housing market crash 15 years ago took many by surprise and caused a worldwide recession. It was primarily fueled by low interest rates, loose mortgage-lending practices and a boom in home buying. When the bubble did burst, millions of families lost their homes to foreclosure or short sales for almost a decade. Housing values dropped 30% or more and even today some real estate markets have not fully recovered.
So, are we headed in the same direction now? Many real estate experts say, “not likely.” After the former crash, Congress and federal regulators made significant adjustments to change how mortgage lending is regulated. Since then, standards have been raised and the process is now more strict; many loans of the past are now considered “illegal” and lenders who do not comply may face heavy penalties.
In the 2007 housing market crash, the influx of foreclosures added a housing supply into areas with falling prices and weak labor markets. However, now the effects of mass unemployment bear little resemblance to the Great Recession, thanks to the forbearance programs that have allowed homeowners to postpone their monthly mortgage payments without suffering penalties.
Equity can be an incentive to stay in a home longer (the difference between current market value and the amount owed on a mortgage). This will cushion a homeowner from default when values fall. Many have built up large home equity reserves with the recent housing stability and growth. When prices rise, equity also increases.
Inventory is now low due to continued low interest rates, an abundance of millennial buyers and relocation of buyers from other states. While no one can say for sure what will happen with the real estate sector, most experts are confident that we will experience a market dip, but certainly not a crash. The market always has a way of correcting itself, and in time there will be more stability in inventory.