Thursday, August 24, 2006

Is the housing market stronger than we think?

Inman News drew attention today to a very interesting study by a couple economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, essentially making the case that low interest rates and speculation have had a far lower impact on the real estate rush of recent years.

The economists say that increasing wealth, changing demographics and new mortgage products focused on renters have had a bigger impact.

That's a very interesting conclusion, and has big implications for answering the question of whether or not we're seeing a real estate bubble burst right now. If, in fact, more fundamental economic factors have led to the growth of the real estate market, one could argue that those specific factors haven't abated recently, and that the market will continue to be reasonably healthy (even if it is "settling down" from an unusually high amount of activity).