The housing market

January 3, 2019
In this Oct. 2, 2018, file photo a for sale sign stands outside a home on the market in the north Denver suburb of Thornton, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Housing has historically been a harbinger of recession — most dramatically in the financial collapse of 2008, which was caused by a real estate bubble fueled by too-easy credit. This time may be different.

Home sales and residential investment have started to sag over the past couple of quarters. But there was no building boom, post-recession mortgage underwriting has been much more solid, and any drop-off in the housing market has been blamed on rising interest rates — as well as high home prices.

Still, home building and real estate accounts for a significant portion of the US economy and a slowdown in housing, for whatever reason, amounts to a slowdown in economic activity, even if it’s not the catastrophe of the last recession.

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