(Data source SCB. FPI=Fastighetsprisindex småhus, Mean Income=Sammanräknad förvärvsinkomst. 1975=100 for housing prices, 1999=100 for incomes)
As you can clearly see, housing prices in Sweden have risen much faster than the average income (I only have income data for 1991-2005), so while inflation-adjusted incomes have indeed risen, we are still in a housing bubble. How far will housing prices fall?
- A fall down to the trend line is about 30%.
- A fall down to the average for 1975-2003 is about 45%.
- A fall down to the lows of the early 1990's is about 55%.
As you can see the graph is slightly more "bubblish" than for the whole of Sweden.
- A fall to the trend line is about 30%
- A fall to the average for 1975-2003 is about 55%
- A fall to the lows of the early 1990's is about 65%!!
Now housing bubbles burst slowly, so the process will take a few years to play out. I expect "experts" to call a bottom in housing many times during the coming years, but prices will still keep on falling.
Now what effects will such a large fall in housing prices have on the economy? Large effects, of course. Many people will be stuck with loans way bigger than the value of their home. But maybe we should ask the question the other way around - what economic events could trigger such a large fall in housing prices? Read what I have previously written on this blog about potential dangers in the world economy, and you will get some hints about what might cause such a powerful recession.
Speaking of housing bubbles, the top economic advisor of the Spanish prime minister came up with some unbelievable quotes last week:
A residential real estate slump in Spain, where prices have almost tripled since 1997, is "unthinkable," the top economic adviser of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said. [...]Remember those quotes and remind Mr. Taguas about them in a few years' time!
"To talk about severe adjustments or a meltdown in prices is ridiculous," Taguas said in response to reports pointing to an end of the Spanish real estate boom. "That sort of crisis is unthinkable." [...]
The Spanish banking system is also solid enough to withstand rising financing costs triggered by the fallout from the surge in defaults in the U.S. subprime mortgage market. A run on mortgage- lenders such as Newcastle, U.K.-based Northern Rock Plc or funding difficulties like those at Countrywide Financial Corp. in the U.S. are "unthinkable" in Spain, Taguas said.