After the bursting of the U.S. housing market bubble in the middle of the last decade, and the ensuing financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, marketplace observers are sensitive to any hint of house price inflation in the recovering economy. This week, number-crunching firm CoreLogic released a list of top ten housing markets that are over-valued, in the company's estimation. Third on the list was Charleston, South Carolina, according to a report in the Post and Courier (see: "Report: Charleston among 10 most overvalued U.S. housing markets," by Warren L. Wise).
"Homes in historic Charleston and North Charleston are priced at 23.4 percent more than what’s sustainable and have grown in value 12.8 percent since January 2014 (as compared with 5.4 percent in 2013),” said CoreLogic. A number of other coastal markets ranked in CoreLogic's top ten also, the Post and Courier noted: "Austin, Texas, topped the list with home prices 42.3 percent over what’s considered sustainable. The rest, in descending order, include Houston; Miami; Washington, D.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Philadelphia; Dallas; San Antonio; and Nashville."
Is this a housing bubble? Maybe not, writes analyst Diana Olick for CNBC (see: "Frothy, yes, but don't call it a housing bubble). "Housing prices are very unlikely to fall," wrote Olick — and she quoted CoreLogic economist Sam Khater: "Just because you're overvalued doesn't mean that you're in a bubble or there is an impending crash. Some markets are overvalued because of strong fundamentals."
According to Khater, prices are rising because builders aren't building enough houses in hot markets, reported MarketWatch (see: "10 most overvalued housing markets in America," by Catey Hill). "The primary driver behind the overvaluation of more housing markets is supply, says Sam Khater, the chief economist at CoreLogic," MarketWatch explained. "'Builders are not building enough -- they’ve focused on margins and not scale,' he says. This, in turn, has led them to focus on the upper end at the expense of the middle and lower end of the markets, where demand is strong once again, he says."