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Seattle among cities likely to see big slump in housing prices.

Some of the biggest cities in the U.S. that became boom towns during the pandemic are set to see a drastic decline in home prices, according to Goldman Sachs analysts.

In a recent note to clients, the strategists warned that by the end of 2024, home prices are set to plunge by 19% in Austin, 16% in Phoenix, 15% in San Francisco and 12% in Seattle. That's because those four cities have seen large increases in inventory, and supply is now overwhelming demand.

"While overall levels of housing inventory remain tighter than pre-pandemic levels, some vulnerable metropolitan areas have seen supply increase rapidly. Unsurprisingly, our home price appreciation forecasts have been most negative for geographies where supply is starting to overwhelm demand," the note said. It was authored by Lotfi Karoui, Vinay Viswanathan and Ronnie Walker.

However, the analysts at the Wall Street bank said the anticipated housing decline in those metropolitan areas is not reflective of a broader trend in housing prices. They noted that San Francisco and Austin, in particular, are home to major tech firms — including Amazon, Apple, Goolge and Facebook — that have been at the forefront of industry-wide layoffs.

"Rather than being indicative of things to come across the country, we view the nascent oversupply in Pacific Coast and Southwest markets as reflecting local challenges, particularly very poor levels of affordability, pandemic-related distortions, and (in certain markets) a high concentration of employment in the technology industry," they wrote. 

An earlier note from Goldman Sachs suggests that home prices nationwide could fall around 6% from their peak before bottoming out sometime in the next six months as a result of higher mortgage rates.

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"The sharpest declines for the U.S. housing market are now behind us," the strategists, led by Goldman chief economist Jan Hatzius, said in the January note.

The interest rate-sensitive housing market has borne the brunt of the Federal Reserve's aggressive campaign to tighten policy and slow the economy. 

Policymakers already lifted the benchmark federal funds rate eight consecutive times and have signaled they plan to continue raising rates higher this year as they try to crush inflation that is still running abnormally high.  

Although mortgage rates have fallen from a peak of 7.08% notched in November, they have recently reversed that trend and started to march higher amid interest rate-hike fears. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage climbed to 6.65% this week, according to data from mortgage lender Freddie Mac. 

That remains significantly higher than just one year ago, when rates hovered around 3.76%.

Other economists have projected steeper declines in the housing market. Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, warned that home prices could tumble as much as 20% from their peak. 

Posted by Cary W Porter on


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