Positive news coming out of the U.S. housing market may be creating a case of mass delusion about the so-called housing recovery when one looks at the actual data, at least one analyst says.
Christopher Whalen with Tangent Capital Partners released a research note Sunday, advising media mavens and political types to beware overestimating a series of home price increases and higher construction starts. Why?
In Whalen's own terms, "Whatever the neo-Keynesian socialists who populate the Federal Open Market Committee think they are doing to help the economy or the housing sector via zero rate policy, it is not working," he argued.
The problem, he says, is the force behind the recovery — namely investors who are snapping up single-family homes to turn them into rentals — does not alone signify a recovery.
"While a number of exuberant private equity funds have been soaking up the excess supply of housing in markets such as Arizona, Florida and California ... the supply of qualified individuals with the capacity to buy and actually occupy a home has fallen dramatically," Whalen wrote.
Florida saw pending home sales soar 40% above year-ago levels in September. But by Whalen's assertion and the general consensus, recent upticks in sales activity cannot be attributed to an influx of new buyers or job creation.
Whalen cites Anthony Sanders of George Mason University who estimates the number of those who cannot qualify for a mortgage is now somewhere around 30% of the potential homebuyer population.