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Citizens Bank CEO Bruce Van Saun. Photo courtesy of Citizens Bank

The market that Bruce Van Saun, CEO of Citizens Financial Group, is most keeping an eye on for potential valuation bubbles these days: residential housing.

The big picture: Rock-bottom interest rates, labor and supply chain pressures affecting homebuilders, and the investor class scooping up homes have all helped drive prices higher, he notes.

Context: The median existing home sale price in August was 15% higher than it was a year ago, marking 114 months in a row of year-over-year growth, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Reality check: Banks are under pressure to extend credit to lower and moderate-income borrowers who have historically been left out of one of America's strongest vehicles for building wealth: homeownership.

  • That can lead to a balancing act for banks between a desire to increase the flow of credit as well as provide sound financial management for borrowers and lenders, Van Saun said.

What they're saying “If you're going to wade into that territory, and you think that housing values could be a little overvalued at this point, and could come down as the Fed raises rates, those [loans] will become riskier,” he said.

  • "When you see strong double-digit increases in major housing markets, that doesn't feel sustainable," Van Saun added.

Flashback: Residential mortgages, of course, were one of the drivers of the financial crisis.

  • Key differences in the market this time around: there's not as much pure speculation on homes. Most buyers and lenders have shed the assumption — and commensurate behavior — that prices can only go up, he notes.

Go deeper: The housing market gets even hotter

Go deeper

Housing slowdown threatens China's economic muscle

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China Evergrande and a growing group of Chinese housing developers are inching toward defaulting on their debt.

Why it matters: While that's unlikely to cause a crisis of Lehman proportions, as Axios’ Felix Salmon has reported, just how much China's real estate sector cools could impact the nation's role as a growth driver for companies around the world.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressman criminally charged with lying to feds

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) has been indicted on charges he falsified records and lied to federal investigators probing an illegal foreign donation scheme, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Driving the news: DOJ says a Fortenberry associate, who later cooperated with investigators, informed him he'd likely received illegal donations from an intermediary for a foreign national, but that Fortenberry denied any knowledge of such a scheme when contacted by the FBI.

"Assassin's Creed," but for schools

"Viking Age: Discovery Tour." Image via Ubisoft

For the third time since 2018, Ubisoft is releasing a nonviolent version of its latest “Assassin’s Creed” game as part of a unique effort to turn one of the medium’s most popular series into an educational tool.

Driving the news:Viking Age: Discovery Tour” transforms last year’s “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” from a bloody 150-hour game about Viking conquest in 9th century England into a peaceful four-hour game about merchants and monks.