Pragmatic Capitalism

Capital for Living a More Practical Life

The Key to Home Prices?

By Marc Chandler, Global Head of Currency Strategy, Brown Brothers Harriman

This Great Graphic was posted on Sober Outlook, which in turn comes from JPMorgan, drawing on CoreLogic and BLS data. It tracks two times series, per capita income and house prices.

The compelling idea here is that over the long-run, the appreciation of house prices tracks per capita income.

Admittedly, there is great variation of house prices. It is difficult to conceive of a national market as something more than a summation of the local markets.

In any event, the question of the trend in house prices is transformed here into a question of the trend in per capita income. Per capita income has tended to grow around 5% a year in the US historically, but considerably slower since the end of the credit cycle. Next year, 2013, is likely to be another year of subdued growth in GDP, which at best will be a little more than population growth. This suggests little lift for house pries, generally speaking, next year.


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