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4 Reasons Why Today’s Housing Market is NOT 2006 All Over Again

With home prices rising again this year, some are concerned that we may be repeating the 2006 housing bubble that caused families so much pain when it collapsed. Today’s market is quite different than the bubble market of twelve years ago. There are four key metrics that explain why:

  1. Home Prices
  2. Mortgage Standards
  3. Mortgage Debt
  4. Housing Affordability

1. HOME PRICES

There is no doubt that home prices have reached 2006 levels in many markets across the country. However, after more than a decade, home prices should be much higher based on inflation alone.

Frank Nothaft is the Chief Economist for CoreLogic (which compiles some of the best data on past, current, and future home prices). Nothaft recently explained:

“Even though CoreLogic’s national home price index got to the same level it was at the prior peak in April of 2006, once you account for inflation over the ensuing 11.5 years, values are still about 18% below where they were.” (emphasis added)

2. MORTGAGE STANDARDS

Some are concerned that banks are once again easing lending standards to a level similar to the one that helped create the last housing bubble. However, there is proof that today’s standards are nowhere near as lenient as they were leading up to the crash.

The Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center issues a Housing Credit Availability Index (HCAI). According to the Urban Institute:

“The HCAI measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default—that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks, making it easier to get a loan.”

The graph below reveals that standards today are much tighter on a borrower’s credit situation and have all but eliminated the riskiest loan products.

4 Reasons Why Today’s Housing Market is NOT 2006 All Over Again | MyKCM

3. MORTGAGE DEBT

Back in 2006, many homeowners mistakenly used their homes as ATMs by withdrawing their equity and spending it with no concern for the ramifications. They overloaded themselves with mortgage debt that they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) repay when prices crashed. That is not occurring today.

The best indicator of mortgage debt is the Federal Reserve Board’s household Debt Service Ratio for mortgages, which calculates mortgage debt as a percentage of disposable personal income.

At the height of the bubble market a decade ago, the ratio stood at 7.21%. That meant over 7% of disposable personal income was being spent on mortgage payments. Today, the ratio stands at 4.48% – the lowest level in 38 years!

4. HOUSING AFFORDABILITY

With both house prices and mortgage rates on the rise, there is concern that many buyers may no longer be able to afford a home. However, when we look at the Housing Affordability Index released by the National Association of Realtors, homes are more affordable now than at any other time since 1985 (except for when prices crashed after the bubble popped in 2008).

4 Reasons Why Today’s Housing Market is NOT 2006 All Over Again | MyKCM

Bottom Line

After using four key housing metrics to compare today to 2006, we can see that the current market is not anything like the bubble market.

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The ancient mountains, rolling hills, and pristine creeks and rivers of the North Georgia mountains have a way of calling you out into the wild, no matter the season. And the majestic mountain setting that makes the outdoors so fun and inviting also provides some of the most amazing backdrops for a home as well. Many natives to the area have perfected the art of “porch swing sitting” and will be happy to share their notes with those who need to relax a bit. With so many homes having views of nothing but the majesty of nature in many different forms, it’s no wonder the art of sitting quietly to unwind is widespread. It’s also widely understood and ensured that these mountains will remain pristine for many generations to come. The Chattahoochee National Forest makes up a large majority of land in the region, and therefore it will remain virtually unchanged and undeveloped by people for many, many years to come. The bounties of the land and celebration of mountain heritage are favorite themes for the many festivals held throughout the area and throughout the year. Local farmers, mountain artisans and entertainers have a huge, artistic and loving stage on which to showcase their talents. People from all over the world and from all walks of life come to enjoy the good food and good times of these southern Appalachian festivals. The incredible display of Mother Nature in these mountains is definitely a great reason to find a home here, add to that the never ending events and abundance of talented and lovely people and there’s really no reason not to.

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