What Will Happen to That $30 Trillion in U.S. Home Equity?
“It’s like someone turned off the faucet”
You probably remember the last big housing bust which began more than 15 years ago.
Elliott Wave International has observed that falling housing prices are generally preceded by a decline in home sales. The lag time may be some months, which was the case in the 2005-2006 timeframe.
Here’s what I mean: The December 2005 Elliott Wave Financial Forecast, a monthly publication which covers major U.S. financial markets, noted:
In October, home sales fell a larger-than-expected 2.7%. “It’s like someone turned off the faucet,”said a real estate agent.
The January 2006, Elliott Wave Financial Forecast provided an update:
Home sales are falling across the board now.
By mid-2006, U.S. home prices peaked, and a major housing bust followed.
Since the trough of that bust, U.S. home prices not only rebounded, but reached an all-time high in June 2022.
Yet, here in the late summer of 2023, homeowners may have a reason to worry. Here’s an Aug. 22 news item from bankrate.com:
Existing-home sales fall but prices still near record highs
Existing-home sales in July fell 2.2 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors. It’s a 16.6 percent decline from one year ago.
Given that prices are still near record highs, homeowners in the aggregate (at least for now) have a huge amount of equity.
As a Sept. 7 CNBC headline notes:
‘House-rich’ Americans are sitting on nearly $30 trillion in home equity. …
But, as we learned from the prior housing bust, change can sometimes be dramatic.
As a reminder, here’s a June 2011 news item (Cleveland.com):
Americans’ equity in their homes near a record low
The average homeowner now has 38 percent equity, down from 61 percent a decade ago.
Is another major housing bust just ahead?
Well, as Elliott Wave International has noted, the stock market and the housing market tend to be correlated.
So, if you’re wondering what’s ahead for housing, keep an eye on the main stock indexes.
An ideal way to do that is by performing Elliott wave analysis.
If you’re unfamiliar with Elliott wave analysis or simply need a refresher, read Frost & Prechter’s Elliott Wave Principle: Key to Market Behavior. Here’s a quote from this Wall Street classic:
If indeed markets are patterned, and if those patterns have a recognizable geometry, then regardless of the variations allowed, certain price and time relationships are likely to recur. In fact, experience shows that they do.
It is our practice to try to determine in advance where the next move will likely take the market. One advantage of setting a target is that it gives a sort of backdrop against which to monitor the market’s actual path. This way, you are alerted quickly when something is wrong and can shift your interpretation to a more appropriate one if the market does not do what you expect. The second advantage of choosing a target well in advance is that it prepares you psychologically for buying when others are selling out in despair, and selling when others are buying confidently in a euphoric environment.
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