No housing expert has a crystal ball, but Svenja Gudell, recently
appointed chief economist for the housing site Zillow.com, has
looked at enough data to make a pretty good guess.
She examines vast amounts of housing market statistics - everything
from about where people are going to want to live to what areas will
be hot to what the future could hold for renters - on a daily basis.
Reuters asked Gudell to share her insights on what she thinks the
2016 housing market will be like.
Q: What markets do you think will be places to watch in 2016?
A: Next year, the combination of unemployment, population growth and
the home value growth will make markets like Boise, Idaho, Salt Lake
City, Utah, and Omaha, Nebraska, stand out.
Denver, Seattle, Dallas/Fort Worth and Portland, where inventory has
been declining in the last year and demand continues to rise, will
also be hot locations in 2016.
Q: Are there some areas we should just give up on, instead of
waiting for them to recover from the recession?
A: No. Cities are pretty good at reinventing themselves. There's a
city out there for everyone.
Q: Location always matters in real estate, but are there any
adjustments to that rule in 2016?
A: We have fairly low inventory in the cities. So next year, we'll
see first-time home buyers looking at suburbs - not just any
suburbs, but those that are more dense, more walkable.
We're also going to see an uptick in the number of condos being sold
Ė especially for first-time home buyers. For a lot of folks, life
happens not just inside their four walls but outside of them.
Location, cost itself and nearby amenities will be most important.
Q: Now that the Federal reserve has officially started to raise
interest rates, what will the ripple effect be to the mortgage
market in 2016?
A: Markets really havenít reacted much. A lot of the expectations of
the rate increase have already been built in.
As rates continue to rise - there will probably be four increases of
25 basis points each - we will start to see more of an impact at the
coasts, in areas like Seattle, San Francisco, New York, and Miami.
These are already markets where people are already stretching. But,
overall the effects will be relatively muted.
[to top of second column]
Q: Is 2016 going to be the year millennials begin buying houses, now
that they are older and the market is more recovered?
A: I feel like that was our prediction this year and it turns out we
Millennials are going to be bigger and bigger buyers in the market
going forward. I donít think next year we're going to see a flood of
millennials in one month or another. They'll just trickle in.
They're taking their time getting to the market and buying a home.
They're getting married later on in life. They're having children
later on in life. So they're making home buying decisions later on
One issue is that inventory is very low, especially on the bottom
end of the price distribution. There are very few of those
available, especially in these markets that have the most jobs.
That's particularly the case on the coasts. It's a challenge for
them. It's a tough market. There is a lot competition.
Q: What kind of new house trends are on the horizon for 2016? Are
there any upgrades that are must-haves?
A: It's tough with how few new homes are available, but there is a
trend among builders to build larger homes on smaller lots. Land is
fairly expensive so they are trying to maximize their profits given
the high land costs.
Q: Should we be optimistic or pessimistic or patient about housing
A: I'm an optimist. I like to see the silver lining, but there's
going to be a lot of hurdles.
(The author is a Reuters contributor. The opinions expressed are his
(Editing by Dan Grebler)
[© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2015 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.