Three of the series — new home sales, existing home sales, and single family starts — all peaked last November:
That made me go back and think about an anomaly I had noticed, but hadn’t figured out, with regard to the rental vacancy rate:
which, according to the graph, peaked in the 3rd Quarter of last year, and has declined since.
It occurred to me that this is probably not a coincidence. If housing unaffordability has become a real constraint for potential buyers, then there should be an increasing number of such buyers who are forced to rent instead — which would drive down the rental vacancy rate.
It also looks like the rental vacancy rate peaked in 1997-98 and early 2004, in advance of the last two cyclical housing peaks, which I suspect is also not a coincidence.
So, is there a leading signal for the housing market in the rental vacancy rate? My preliminary perusal makes me think it’s complicated. I’m chewing it over.