Housing is doing something it hasn’t done since the bubble.
According to economic forecaster Lakshman Achuthan, home prices across the country are rising at the fastest pace since 2004. Plus, he finds price growth is at a record high.
“This economy that has been really driven by stuff at home,” the co-founder of the Economic Cycle Research Institute told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Wednesday.
Achuthan’s call is based on proprietary indicators tracking housing market activity. His leading home price index, which has been around for about two decades, shows growth adjusted for inflation has surpassed the housing bubble’s peak.
“That leading index has really taken off. It recently hit an all-time high,” he said. “The leading home price index has edged off for a couple of months, [but] that’s nothing in the cyclical scheme of things.”
Historically low interest rates have driven housing’s momentum. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported on Wednesday that the fixed 30-year mortgage slid to 2.9%, an all-time low. This time last year, the rate was at 4%.
Achuthan expects that rising 10-year Treasury note yields could put pressure on rising home prices into next year. He also speculates that mass coronavirus inoculations could alter consumer spending behaviors that have benefited housing.
“It’s been this economy that has been really driven by stuff at home,” he said. “Anything that gets us an ebbing of the pandemic that gets us out and wanting to spend our dollars on people facing experiential things away from being at home… that could change the mix here.”
But unlike the housing bubble, Achuthan doesn’t think a slowdown will be dramatic because there’s no residential overbuilding.
“The supply situation is quite different,” he said. “Housing supply actually is quite a bit tighter.”