Zillow recently conducted their Home Price Expectation Survey and most of the nation's housing experts have one word to describe San Francisco Bay Area's housing market - bubble. Mark Calvey of San Francisco Business Times reports on the details of the survey.
The survey, which Zillow conducts with Pulsenomics on a quarterly basis, yielded to a third of the nation's housing experts saying that the Bay Area may get in a bubble and another 20 percent believes it is going to take place within the next year. Out of 100 panelists in the survey, 66 were generous enough to respond to questions regarding bubble conditions in 20 housing markets.
In the result, also facing bubble talks, but way behind the Bay Area are New York, Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Diego.
Zillow's survey results however come as a surprise given the reluctance in the end of housing experts and just about anybody else to recognize a possible bubble market when everyone's still having a field day.
"A handful of markets - especially the Bay Area - are very hot right now, and it's possible home values may actually begin to fall somewhat in these places as more residents are priced out amidst rising affordability concerns, especially when interest rates rise," said Zillow Chief Economist Svenja Gudell. "Whether those local conditions constitute a 'bubble' is up for debate, even among economists.
"It's difficult to identify bubbles as they're happening, but it is very clear that nationally we are not seeing a return of the conditions that caused the last national bubble to pop," Gudell said. "Tighter lending restrictions today mean we aren't seeing buyers get loans they realistically can't pay back, like we did in years past.
"It's significant that some experts are starting to worry about bubble conditions, but in my opinion, there's no real danger of a severe crash like the one we all remember from the last decade," Gudell said.
That however does not give Bay Area residents who were affected by the 2008 financial crisis much to be happy about. Add to that the fact that the region's housing gains rely heavily from what Wall Street and China are bringing in.
All these troubling signals about Bay Area's housing market were ignited last summer when Zillow felt that its red-hot housing market is showing signs of cooling off. It's further fueled by agents in Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing San Francisco" notice of tech house hunters moving to the sidelines as well as lesser cases of intense bidding wars.
In the midst of the hullabaloo, San Francisco-based Paragon Real Estate Group released a research showing the sluggish movement in the region's luxury housing market. This week, they also released a more sobering finding showing the lowest percentage of bidding over asking from buyers in the past 11 months which is only at 6 percent.
According to Paragon, house prices are intentionally being underpriced in popular neighborhoods just to spur bidding wars. The Bay Area housing market is only going to start clearing come spring home-buying season, Paragon adds.