U.S. Population growth is roughly 3 million people per year, yet in one of the most expansive housing booms in history the U.S. added "only" 1.8 million new housing units. With all the bubble fears, builders may slow in new construction, but population growth seems to be rising.
The current average household size is about 2.37 people per household, yet new home growth vs. population growth is equivalent to building one new home for every 1.53 people. While this might seem that we're overbuilding, in fact household size seems to be shrinking rapidly with more single people buying homes, delaying marriage, and limiting their households when they finally do marry and have children. Plus, the retiring Baby Boomers are buying second and even third homes, which is 1 person per household if you consider a retired couple with 2 homes.
Whats more, certain states are growing even faster than the U.S. in population vs. housing unit growth. Arizona's new construction must squeeze in 2.29 persons per household, yet this is a retirement and second home mecca (and you thought Arizona was a bad investment now - NOT!!!). Texas is at 2.17 persons, and Utah at 2 persons per household. California is "only" 1.59 person per new household being built, but that is higher than the national average, and here in San Francisco, the persons per household is likely much lower than the rest of the country, AND we're not building many new units.
As of today, Monday August 28th 2006, interest rates have slipped for 5 consecutive weeks. Rising rates is the #1 culprit cited by Bubble maniacs as the cause of the so called Bubble. But with rates staying steady, and population on a never ending upward spiral with land not increasing, demand should continue to outweigh supply and continue to increase property values for eternity. Personally, I think the bubble has already burst earlier this year. Now home prices are steady, and are likely to start an average increase each year around 3% or so. However, when you read news reports in the coming months that show a turn down in prices, longer time on the market, and fewer homes being sold, keep in mind that what you're reading is older news. The news about the decline I saw from September 2005 through March of 2006 has yet to come out. When it does come out it will scare the heck out of everyone. To me that means that between right now and when that news comes out will be the ideal time to pick up homes for bargain prices just before everyone realizes prices are already on the rise once again.
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