Jan 30, 2023 - Real Estate

Experts bash Goldman Sachs prediction of a 2008-level housing crash

Data: Redfin; Chart: Axios Visuals

A New York Post article reporting that Goldman Sachs has forecast a 2008-level housing crash in Phoenix sent ripples through the Valley's real estate industry last week.

  • Yes, but: Local experts called the report "hyperbolic," "misleading" and "a disservice" when Axios Phoenix requested comment.

What they're saying: "This is so not the reality of what's going on and not what anybody else expects to happen this year," Phoenix Realtors president Butch Leiber told us.

Why it matters: More than 100,000 Arizona homes went into foreclosure in 2008, and the market took about a decade to fully recover.

  • Understandably, when people talk about a housing crash, we get a little anxious.

What's happening: The global investment firm cautioned clients that Phoenix, Austin, Texas; San Diego; and San Jose, California, could see a 25% decline in home prices this year, per the New York Post story.

Flashback: Nationally, home prices fell around 27% in 2008, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index. But in metro Phoenix, homes lost 56% of their value — the third worst rate in the country, per NPR.

State of play: The median Phoenix home sale price, which was $410,000 last month, has come down significantly since its May peak of $470,000, according to Redfin. Prices began to fall after the Federal Reserve started hiking interest rates in March 2022.

Context: Home prices soared during the pandemic because our housing inventory couldn't keep up with heightened demand. This was fueled by people in more expensive places, like L.A., taking advantage of work-from-home options and moving here.

  • The median home price in Phoenix increased almost 60% from $300,000 in March 2020 to its May 2022 peak.

Be smart: "The rate of increase has declined, but it doesn't mean that the values are falling," Mark Stapp, executive director of the Master of Real Estate Development program at ASU, says.

  • The growth in 2021 and early 2022 was an anomaly and unsustainable, Stapp says. Interest rate hikes have forced the market back into a healthier, more balanced place.

Between the lines: Several compounding factors led to the market collapse in 2008 — most of which are not at play in the Valley's housing market today, including:

  • Bad lending: Banks offered pricey mortgages to risky borrowers, a practice that has been reformed since the Great Recession.
  • Overbuilding: The Valley had more inventory than demand, which sunk prices. Metro Phoenix now has a housing shortage, and with people continuing to move here and homebuilding slowing because of recession concerns, we will continue to see a shortage.

What we're watching: The third week of January saw 1,800 new escrow transactions in the Valley, the highest of any week since June 2022, according to Leiber.

  • He expects that number to continue to rise as people have come to terms with the higher interest rates and start buying again.
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