The housing market may be slowing down, but Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller told CNBC he isn’t fearful that a big downturn is ahead.
During the financial crisis, the fluctuation of home prices was the sharpest anyone had ever seen — and the word “housing bubble” entered the vocabulary, the Yale economist said.
Now, “you can call it a bubble” because home prices have been rising since 2012, “but it’s not the same. It’s more placid,” he said on “Power Lunch.”
“I don’t expect a sharp turn in the housing market at this point,” added Shiller, the co-founder of the Case-Shiller Index, which tracks home prices around the nation.
The impact of rising mortgage rates is already being felt on the housing market.
Rates started climbing in September and are now approximately a full percentage point higher than they were a year ago. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is now around 5 percent.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Census reported that sales of newly built homes dropped 5.5 percent in September compared with August and were 13 percent lower compared with a year ago. The slowdown is worse than had been predicted, even with higher rates factored in.
The reading prompted Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, to write in a note to clients: “Anyone watching home builder stocks or watching the data all year should not be surprised but it’s clear this important area of the US economy, highly sensitive to price and rates, has obviously slowed sharply.”
The latest S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, released last month, showed a slowing of the rate of price increases for July.
— CNBC’s Diana Olick contributed to this report.