InvestingMarkets & Economy

Is a housing bubble near?

  • Total U.S. home loans outstanding grew by $19 billion, 0.19 percent to $10.008 trillion -- that’s the first time over $10 trillion since 2011.
  • With a growth rate like that, a bubble is impossible.

Take two things for certain. First, there’s never been nor ever will be a housing bubble without a corresponding bubble in mortgage credit. Second, no matter who may yap about credit being too easy (usually complainers about the federal role in mortgages), stick with the Fed’s quarterly accounting of U.S. financial flows, Z-1. We just got the 1st Quarter 2016 report -- it lags because it’s a huge effort to compile accurately. Buried in it, 125 pages deep, are all of the mortgage accounts. Total U.S. home loans outstanding grew by $19 billion, 0.19 percent to $10.008 trillion -- that’s the first time over $10 trillion since 2011. A growth rate like that...no bubble. Impossible. The sustained rise in U.S. home prices at a slope of 5 percent to 6 percent is fueled by a lot of cash (thank you, stock market), and concentrated in the healthiest metro areas and probably overstated nationally. Mortgage equity withdrawal Since the mortgage bubble blew for good in 2007, ...