- The housing market has been losing momentum, with inventories rising to 2011 highs.
- A mismatch between residential-real-estate activity and the rest of the economy may be worsening the slowdown.
- Wage growth could help bridge the disconnect.
From rising prices to the new tax law, economists say there are a number of conditions contributing to a slowdown in the US housing market. But there may also be a less tangible factor at play: uncertainty.
The economy is humming, with unemployment at multi-decade lows and signs of upward pressure on wages. Alongside these robust metrics, however, consumers are watching home inventories rise to the highest level in years.
“Usually, consumers are used to seeing the housing market perform in tandem with the economy,” said Jonathan Miller, an appraiser and market analyst. “But what’s been especially confusing over the last year and a half or so is that they seem to be disconnected.”
Declines in residential-construction activity and foreclosure rates have led to historic housing shortages across the country in recent years. Together with rising rates, an increasing number of Americans have been priced out of the market.
Meanwhile, analysts say the tax overhaul passed last year isn’t helping. By curbing mortgage-interest deductions…