Oct 1, 2019

The global real estate rethink

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Reproduced from UBS; Chart: Axios Visuals

Housing and real estate are going through a period of systemic change that could reshape how we think about the sector in years to come.

What's happening: Prices in the largest U.S. cities have stagnated for the first time since 2011, mortgage applications are falling and even ultra low interest rates have not been enough to lure buyers back to the market, data shows.

What it means: "Mortgage interest rates in many cities aren't the major challenge for house buyers anymore," Claudio Saputelli, head of real estate at UBS Global Wealth Management, said in the asset manager's annual Global Real Estate Bubble Index.

  • "Many households simply lack the funds required to meet the banks' financing criteria, which we believe poses one of the biggest risks to property values in urban centers."
  • Buying a 650-square-foot apartment exceeds the budget of people who earn the average annual income in the highly skilled service sector in most world cities, per UBS.

Why it matters: It's the end of the boom, Saputelli and Matthias Holzhey, head of Swiss real estate investments, write. The exponential rise in housing prices combined with a lack of major wage gains for average American workers over the last 3 decades may have finally topped the fast-growing urban housing market.

  • Real prices in all 4 of 2016's top-ranking cities have fallen. On average they are down by 10% from their respective peaks.
  • "Owning residential property in global cities has been a sure road to wealth accumulation. However ... real price appreciation can no longer be taken for granted."

Details: Currently, the analysts see 7 cities at high risk of being in a real estate bubble, but more importantly they see a rethink of housing as an asset taking place across the world's developed economies.

  • While the U.S. housing bubble risk has receded as prices have stagnated, the eurozone is now at the greatest risk of a housing bubble, as ultra-low interest rates have helped push many of Europe's cities to price levels reminiscent of bubbles past, UBS analysts said in the paper.

Go deeper: U.S. mortgage rates rise while applications and home prices slow

Go deeper

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 5,428,605 — Total deaths: 345,375 — Total recoveries — 2,179,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil Over 100 cases in Germany tied to single day of church services.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.