housing

How Phoenix Housing Boomed and Busted

When analysing the US housing bubble, four states stand-out for the way in which home values rose into the stratosphere before crashing and burning: California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona (see below chart).  read more »

Housing Bottom? Not Yet.

Weakness in housing activity and in housing prices continues to be a major drag on the overall economy. My colleagues at California Lutheran University's Center for Economic Research and Forecasting have long maintained that the home ownership rate (HOR) needs to fall back to its historical norm of 64% before housing can recover. Their view has been that the attempt to increase the HOR by loosening credit standards contributed to creating financial instability.  read more »

Australia Central Banker: Higher House Prices a "Social Problem"

Glenn Stevens, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia expressed concern about the growing gap in housing affordability in the nation to a parliamentary committee on Friday. Stevens raised questions about the cost and supply of housing, asking:

"How is it that we can't add to the dwelling stock for the marginal new entrant more cheaply than we seem to be able to do," he asked.  read more »

New Zealand Leader Focuses on Association between High House Prices and Growth Management

ACT Party leader Donald Brash, who served from 1988 to 2002 as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (similar in function to the Federal Reserve Board) has noted the poor housing affordability in New Zealand and its connection to growth management policies (called by various names, such as "smart growth," "growth management," "compact cities," "densification" "prescriptive land use regulation" and "urban consolidation").

In an August 25 speech Brash said:  read more »

Land Use Regulation Blamed for High Hong Kong House Prices

The Wall Street Journal  reports that growing concern about Hong Kong's high house prices has led the special administrative region's Chief Executive Donald Tsang to promise an overhaul of housing and land use policies in the fall.       read more »

Adelaide Land Prices Top Sydney

The median price of serviced (improved) lots for new houses in Adelaide is reported to have risen above that of far larger Sydney by the Housing Industry Association of South Australia. Housing Industry Association of South Australian Executive Director Robert Harding attributed the high price of land to government policies that have limited the supply of land available for building.  read more »

Home Ownership and the American Dream

What defines the American Dream? A new poll by Big Builder reveals that one answer to this enduring question may be home ownership. A major portion of the American population (59%) believes that they are living the American Dream. Respondents distinguished owning a home as the second most important factor of the American Dream, just behind raising a family.  read more »

The MERS Mess

In 1995, seeking to streamline mortgage processing, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and a group of banks came together to create a new company to register and assign mortgages. The company, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS), served as a way for mortgage originators to quickly process new mortgages, centralizing files and cutting down on the need to deal with local government record keepers.  read more »

Hong Kong Response to High Housing Prices: Expand Land Supply

Hong Kong financial chief John Tsang has promised to expand the city's land supply for residential housing, "in response to rising public anger over soaring property prices and repeated warnings of a looming real estate bubble." Channel News Asia's Hong Kong bureau indicated that the move was precipitated by the "sky-high" housing cost that have been drive by insufficient land for development and speculation (which routinely is intensified where demand for housing is  read more »

Housing Crisis in Australia

Even if Australia is a beautiful place to live, it is far from affordable. Results from the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey show that some of the country’s major cities rank near the bottom of the list of areas with affordable housing. Out of the 325 cities analyzed, Perth ranks 291st, Melbourne ranks 321st, and Sydney ranks 324th.  read more »