Housing — the economy's needy friend
2 main concerns for housing
The housing market is slowly emerging from its rough start to the year and hopes to experience a much better second half of 2014. But these days, housing by itself can't really turn it around.
Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson described it best saying: “In the past, housing has always saved the economy. In the last several economic downturns, the housing market was the first to recover, leading the rest of the economy out of recession. The housing market was the reliable buddy who would bail you out of jail or drive you home at the end of a wild night. But now, the housing market is the needy one in this relationship. The housing market needs the economy to pick up before it can recover.”
And in order for the housing market to get the boost it needs, there are two areas it has to get past.
The first is a lack of inventory, particularly in major metro markets. Second is the current state of the labor markets, Richardson explained.
“Income growth has been weak overall and even though job creation has picked up recently, the type of the jobs created tends to be in low-paying sectors and roles that don’t lend themselves to supporting the purchase of a home,” she explained.
But there is hope for the rest of the year. “We remain confident that the first-quarter drop in activity will reverse, and we are seeing some positive signs in the current quarter, but economic growth likely will be playing catch-up for the rest of the year,” said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan.
However, consumers should get a boost going forward due to continued rising household net worth, which is improving rapidly but remains well below the 2006 peak, as well as firming labor market conditions, which have showed steady albeit unspectacular gains, Duncan added.