San Francisco, L.A., Boston Top Experts' List of Potential Bubble Markets

San Francisco's housing market has grown so unaffordable that some experts say the market is already in a bubble - and it's not the only market they're concerned about.

Dec 09, 2015, 08:00 ET from Zillow

SEATTLE, Dec. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A third of the experts surveyed in the latest Zillow® Home Price Expectations Survey said the San Francisco housing market is in a bubble, and another 20 percent believe the market is at-risk for bubble conditions within the next year.

The survey, sponsored quarterly by Zillow and conducted by Pulsenomics LLCi, asked more than 100 panelists about their expectations for the housing market. Of those, 66 answered a question about bubble conditions in 20 local housing markets.

The survey responses revealed that some housing experts are concerned about over-valuation in some of the nation's hottest housing markets – and that there is significant disagreement among experts about whether the rapid home-value growth in those markets puts consumers at risk.

"A handful of markets – especially the Bay Area – are very hot right now, and it's possible home values may actually begin to fall somewhat in these places as more residents are priced out amidst rising affordability concerns, especially when interest rates rise," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. "Whether those local conditions constitute a 'bubble' is up for debate, even among economists. Without 20/20 hindsight, it's difficult to identify bubbles as they're happening, but it is very clear that nationally we are not seeing a return of the conditions that caused the last national bubble. Tighter lending restrictions today mean we aren't seeing buyers get loans they realistically can't pay back, like we did in years past. It's significant that some experts are starting to worry about bubble conditions, but in my opinion, there's no real danger of a severe crash like the one we all remember from the last decade."

Some experts said they think bubble conditions are already present in Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, San Diego, and Seattle. A quarter of respondents said they think there is significant risk of a housing bubble in the next three years in Boston. (The same number of panelists said there is no risk of a bubble in Boston in the next five years).   

The bubble fears are coming to the surface even as home values overall are expected to gradually level off over the next several years. The ZHPE panel projects an annual growth rate of 3.9 percent through the end of 2015 – a gradual slowing of the U.S. housing market. Over the next five years, among all 108 panel respondents, the expected average annual home-value appreciation rate is now just over three percent. This scenario would result in a national median home value of more than $215,000 by the end of 2020.

"The long-term outlook for U.S. home values has diminished to a three-year low, and a clear-cut consensus among the experts remains elusive, even at the national level," said Pulsenomics Founder Terry Loebs. "Based on the projections of the most optimistic forecasters, home values nationally will increase 4.7 percent next year and surpass their May 2007 peak levels in April 2017. In contrast, the data collected from the panel's most pessimistic respondents expect only 2.3 percent appreciation for next year, and even more subdued appreciation thereafter – a path that would delay the market's eclipse of the bubble peak until September 2019. The divergence of expert views regarding the existence of regional price bubbles and the path of future home values is a reminder that the U.S. housing sector has yet to fully heal more than eight years after the epic bust, and that significant risks have re-emerged within certain large metropolitan area housing markets."

Housing
Market

Already in a
bubble
ii

Significant risk
next 12 months

Significant risk
next 3-5 years

No significant risk
next 5 years

Atlanta

1

1

8

28

Baltimore

1

0

5

30

Boston

1

3

21

14

Chicago

1

0

7

28

Dallas

3

6

10

20

Detroit

1

0

2

31

Houston

8

0

4

22

Los Angeles

6

6

16

12

Miami

4

6

19

13

Minneapolis

1

0

2

30

New York

10

5

13

15

Philadelphia

1

1

6

26

Phoenix

1

1

14

20

Riverside

1

0

10

20

St. Louis

1

0

1

34

San Diego

5

6

11

13

San Francisco

22

11

15

8

Seattle

6

2

13

13

Tampa

1

0

6

25

Washington,
DC

2

3

10

18

About Zillow

Zillow® is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help. In addition, Zillow operates an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau led by Zillow's Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. Dr. Gudell and her team of economists and data analysts produce extensive housing data and research covering more than 450 markets at Zillow Real Estate Research. Zillow also sponsors the quarterly Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, which asks more than 100 leading economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists to predict the path of the Zillow Home Value Index over the next five years. Zillow also sponsors the bi-annual Zillow Housing Confidence Index (ZHCI) which measures consumer confidence in local housing markets, both currently and over time. Launched in 2006, Zillow is owned and operated by Zillow Group (NASDAQ: Z and ZG), and headquartered in Seattle.

Zillow is a registered trademark of Zillow, Inc.

About Pulsenomics:

Pulsenomics LLC (www.pulsenomics.com) is an independent research and consulting firm that specializes in data analytics, new product and index development for institutional clients in the financial and real estate arenas. Pulsenomics also designs and manages expert surveys and consumer polls to identify trends and expectations that are relevant to effective business management and monitoring economic health. Pulsenomics LLC is the author of The Home Price Expectations Survey™, The U.S. Housing Confidence Survey, and The U.S. Housing Confidence Index. Pulsenomics®, The Housing Confidence Index™, and The Housing Confidence Survey™ are trademarks of Pulsenomics LLC.

i This edition of the Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey surveyed 108 experts between November 5th and November 23rd, 2015. The survey was conducted by Pulsenomics LLC on behalf of Zillow, Inc.

ii Number of housing experts out of 66 who responded in the affirmative to the question.

 

SOURCE Zillow