9 signs the housing market is turning around

In his annual letter to investors, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon offered an optimistic outlook on the housing market for 2012.

By Jeff Zagoudis, Associate Editor | April 10, 2012
Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan, housing market, optimism, 9 signs, turnaround

In his annual letter to investors, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon offered an optimistic outlook on the housing market for 2012. Despite the continuing trend of low home prices and an excess of homes in delinquency or foreclosure that are still not on the market, Dimon offers these nine indicators, as reported by Business Insider, that things are starting to turn around:

1. The U.S. population has grown by 3 million people per year since the housing crisis kicked off four years ago. He projects additional growth of 30 million people over the next decade.

2. At that growth rate, there would typically be a need for 1.2 million additional housing units. Over the last four years, that demand has been cut by about half; as job conditions improve, the other half of that demand is expected to return.

3. There has been slow employment growth over the last two years, with 3.45 million jobs added in that span

4. A surplus of housing — thanks to the creation of 845,000 new housing units annually over the last four years versus the destruction of just 250,000 a year in that same period (via demolition, disaster and dilapidation) — will be scooped up as these new households are created.

5. Since May 2007, the existing supply of single-family homes and condos for sale has been cut almost in half, from 4.4 million units at that time to 2.7 million today.

6. The inventory of homes with loans in delinquency or foreclosure has also decreased over the last few years. At the peak of the trend in 2009, 5.1 million homes were in this category; at present, the number sits at 3.9 million. Dimon predicts that number will continue to drop as more investors continue to buy distressed units and rent them out.

7. In half of the housing markets across the U.S., it is currently cheaper for potential homeowners to buy than to rent — a condition not seen in more than 15 years — thanks to ever-growing rental rates.

8. The household debt service ratio — which compares mortgage plus consumer debt payments to disposable personal income — is at its lowest level since the mid-1990s.

9. Mortgage lending standards are starting to ease up, according to recent senior loan officer surveys by the Federal Reserve.

To read the rest of Dimon’s shareholder letter, click here.