Zillow Q4 2016 Home Price Expectations Survey – Summary & Comments

On December 6, 2016, the Zillow Q4 2016 Home Price Expectations Survey results were released.  This survey is done on a quarterly basis.

An excerpt from the Press Release:

Overall, the experts surveyed – which include economists and researchers — said they expect home price appreciation to be at almost 5 percent by the end of 2016, and slow down to 3.6 percent by the end of next year. Zillow forecasts rents across the U.S. to appreciate 1.6 percent from October 2016 to October 2017.

“More than 90 percent of the 111 panelists who participated in this quarter’s survey expect home value growth to be slower next year, and more than 85 percent of them foresee home value appreciation rates flat or lower compared to 2016 in every year through 2021,” said Pulsenomics founder Terry Loebs.  “While those figures represent a clear consensus that home value growth will moderate in the coming years, there is no consensus concerning the pace of the expected deceleration.  For example, the most optimistic experts project that U.S. home value appreciation will average more than 4 percent annually through 2021, while the most pessimistic expect an average annual rate of just 1.1 percent for 2017 and beyond.”

Various Q4 2016 Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey charts are available, including that seen below:

Zillow U.S. Home Price Expectations chart

As one can see from the above chart, the average expectation is that the residential real estate market, as depicted by the U.S. Zillow Home Value Index, will continually climb.

The detail of the Q4 2016 Home Price Expectations Survey (pdf) is interesting.  Of the 111 survey respondents, only two (of the displayed responses) forecasts a cumulative price decrease through 2021, and only one of those two forecasts is for a double-digit percentage decline.  That forecast is from Mark Hanson, who foresees a 24.47% cumulative price decrease through 2021.

The Median Cumulative Home Price Appreciation for years 2016-2021 is seen as 4.90%, 8.88%, 12.24%, 15.30%, 18.76%, and 22.32% respectively.

For a variety of reasons, I continue to believe that even the most “bearish” of these forecasts (as seen in Mark Hanson’s above-referenced forecast) will prove too optimistic in hindsight.  From a longer-term historical perspective, such a decline is very mild in light of the wild excesses that occurred over the “bubble” years.

I have written extensively about the residential real estate situation.  For a variety of reasons, it is exceedingly complex.  While many people continue to have an optimistic view regarding future residential real estate prices, in my opinion such a view is unsupported on an “all things considered” basis.  Furthermore, from these price levels there exists outsized potential for a price decline of severe magnitude, unfortunately.  I discussed this downside, based upon historical price activity, in the October 24, 2010 post titled “What’s Ahead For The Housing Market – A Look At The Charts.”


The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2212.23 as this post is written