Affordability Squeeze Depresses Home Sales

Prospective homebuyers are confronting what the National Association of Realtors (NAR) describes as “the most difficult affordability conditions in nearly 40 years.”

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Judging by news reports and opinion pieces in trade publications and mainstream media, the risk of a housing bubble probably ranks as the top  concern of many economists and real estate industry executives today. But fear of resurgent inflation is a close second.  Home prices and a housing shortage are feeding the bubble fears, as we’ve discussed before; consumer prices and an increasingly rocky labor market recovery are creating the inflation jitters.

The housing market is crazy!  More than one industry professional has reached that conclusion, watching trends that seem inconsistent, if not contradictory. 

Is the housing boom creating a dangerous bubble?  In every boom-and-bust real estate cycle – and there have been a lot of them – experts have suggested and consumers have believed that the boom they were seeing, unlike all the others, would not be followed by a decline.  And every boom-bust cycle in the past has proven them wrong. 

Reports on housing market conditions during the past year have chronicled the disconnect between an economy hobbled by the pandemic and a housing market that seems to exist in an alternate universe, seemingly unaffected by lockdowns, job losses, and economic uncertainty.