Analyst Famous for Pres-crash 2007 Housing Warnings is Concerned Again

Ivy Zelman is cautioning clients that overheated areas with heavy concentrations of investors are likely to face “corrections.”

After a historic run-up in values during the pandemic, housing in the U.S. is at — or near — the peak, she says. She’s cautioning clients that overheated areas with heavy concentrations of investors, including Phoenix, are likely to face “corrections.” A modest rise in 30-year mortgage rates, even to 4%, would bring demand to a halt, according to Zelman.

Cracks are already appearing: The pace of price growth nationwide has started to slow, and in Covid boomtowns such as Boise, Idaho, and Salt Lake City, bidding wars are suddenly giving way to discounts.

Zelman, 55, isn’t forecasting a nationwide crash on the scale of the last bubble, which was magnified by risky subprime mortgage lending. But the signs of trouble look familiar, she says: Investors are distorting the market by driving up prices beyond the reach of primary buyers, and builders with growing construction pipelines are bidding up land values.

The risk is that investors — from iBuyers to private equity firms acquiring and building single-family homes for rent — get spooked and start selling, overloading the market with supply. By the time builders finish homes they’ve now just started, demand may no longer be there, she says.

“If I’m a homebuyer right now,” Zelman says, “I want to wait because I think we’ve gotten to a level that’s not sustainable.”

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US Treasury wants more oversight of all-cash real estate deals

The Biden administration is looking to expand reporting requirements on all-cash real estate deals to help crack down on bad actors’ use of the U.S. market to launder money made through illicit activity.

The Treasury Department was posting notice Monday seeking public comment for a potential regulation that would address what it says is a vulnerability in the real estate market.

Currently, title insurance companies in just 12 metropolitan areas are required to file reports identifying people who make all-cash purchases of residential real estate through shell companies if the transaction exceeds $300,000.

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San Diego drops out of top US ranking for home price gains

San Diego fell off its perch as one of the top markets for home price gains in September.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices reported Tuesday that San Diego metro saw a 25 percent home price gain in a year, making it the fourth fastest-growing market in 20-city index. It marked the first time in 13 months that America’s Finest City was not in the top three.

Phoenix was the top market, up 33.1 percent in a year. It was followed by Tampa, up 27.7 percent, and Miami, up 25.2 percent. San Diego metro (which includes all of San Diego County) was tied with Dallas for fourth, also up 25 percent.

While nationwide price gains are still substantial, up 19.5 percent on average, many experts looking at the closely watched index said there are signs the real estate market is cooling. September was the first time national price gains had slowed since May 2020.

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