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What is happening in the largest asset class in the world? US Housing:

1. There isn't enough:

  • Using a range of forecasts, the market requires ~3-4 million additional homes.

  • Millennials are living with their parents much longer than prior generations due to affordability.

2. People are not moving:

  • There are 80 million single family homes in the US, with only ~450k for sale.

  • Mortgage applications are at the lowest levels in two decades. Mortgage brokers are closing and reducing staff.

  • Worst January for mortgage purchase approvals since 1995.

3. Investors are stuck:

  • Second and third homeowners are sitting on their hands/stuck with interest rates at current levels.

  • Short term rentals are becoming less attractive for landlords (STR supply in NYC fell 80% in 2H 2023 due to regulations).

4. Yet, stress is minor compared to history:

  • The dynamics are vastly different from 08/09 and builders have been disciplined.

  • Housing foreclosures and defaults are rising q-q, yet are only 10% of financial crisis peak levels

  • Inventories are approaching more normalised levels (ex-financial crisis), at 3.5 months of supply (vs 11 months in 2007)

5. What about home improvement and DIY?

  • Retail sales for building materials and garden supplies are weak y-y (elevated pandemic comparables are a factor)

  • Consumers are spending less on DIY projects with higher interest rates (“flipping” homes has become more expensive)

6. Fortunately, most borrowers have mortgage rates well below 5% AND have homes that have appreciated materially.

  • Home equity withdrawals provide $1-2trn of further spending power for consumers, on our math.

  • This provides psychological and financial support for most homeowners to spend more on products they like, or in time, their home.

The pent-up demand for new homes and DIY, if history is any indication, will return, at the right price. Idiosyncratic opportunities will emerge for patient investors with a medium-term outlook.


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