US Housing Market Finally Reaches a Turning Point (RREIN Daily e-News)

RISMEDIA, Monday, June 11, 2012— Home valuations will start to climb again while adjacent consumer industries will capture significant new growth opportunities in 2012 and beyond as the U.S. housing market finally turns the corner, concludes a major new study recently released by The Demand Institute. The recovery of the housing market will have far-reaching impacts in the coming years across the U.S. and international markets as U.S. consumers increase their spending on buying, renovating, furnishing and maintaining their homes.

Launched in February 2012 and jointly operated by The Conference Board and Nielsen, The Demand Institute is a non-profit, non-advocacy organization with a mission to illuminate where consumer demand is headed around the world.

The new report, “The Shifting Nature of U.S. Housing Demand,” predicts that average home prices will increase by up to 1 percent in the second half of 2012. By 2014, home prices will increase by as much as 2.5 percent. From 2015 to 2017, the study projects annual increases between 3 and 4 percent. This recovery will not be uniform across the country, and the strongest markets could capture average gains of 5 percent or more in the coming years.

“In these initial years, the prime driver of recovery won’t be new home construction, but rather demand for rental properties,” says Louise Keely, chief research officer at The Demand Institute and a co-author of the report. “This is a remarkable change from previous recoveries. It is a measure of just how severe the Great Recession has been that such a wide swath of Americans had to delay, scale back, or put off entirely their dreams of homeownership.”

“In the long-term, we don’t expect homeownership rates to change,” says Bart van Ark, chief economist at The Conference Board and co-author of the report. “Over 80 percent of Americans in recent surveys still agree that buying a home is the best long-term investment they can make. What will be intriguing to watch is how their aspirations around homeownership are affected by this period of extended austerity.”

Between 2006 and 2011, some $7 trillion in American wealth was wiped out when home prices dropped 30 percent after a dramatic climb in valuations during the housing bubble. Looking forward, the moderate growth expectations for coming years suggest a return to normalcy. As home prices continue to drop and interest rates fall further, first-time buyers and others who remained relatively cautious will be drawn back into the housing market.

“As the U.S. housing market strengthens, almost every consumer-facing industry will be impacted in the coming years,” says Mark Leiter, chairman of The Demand Institute. “Business and government leaders will benefit by fully understanding the nature of this recovery. In doing so, they will be better able to anticipate how consumer demand will evolve and to formulate critical business and policy decisions to lead their organizations.”

Key Findings in the Report
-The recovery will be led by demand from buyers for rental properties, rather than, as in previous cycles, demand from buyers acquiring new or existing properties for themselves.

-Young people—who were particularly hard hit by the recession—and immigrants will lead the demand for rental properties.

-Rental demand will help to clear the huge oversupply of existing homes for sale. In 2011, some 14 percent of all housing units were vacant, while almost 13 percent of mortgages were in foreclosure or delinquent.

-The average size of the American home will shrink. The size of an average new home is expected to continue to fall, reaching mid-1990 levels by 2015.

-Despite the number of Americans who have been hurt financially by the housing crash, the desire to own a home remains strong. In fact, one survey has revealed that more than 80 percent of Americans recently thought buying a home remained the best long-term investment they could make.

For more information, visit www.demandinstitute.org.

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