U.S. homes are by in large undervalued, even as national price measures show a modest overvaluation due to skewing effects from a few large markets, according to new research from Goldman Sachs.
Homes in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego metropolitan areas, for example, are about 20% above fair value. Meanwhile, prices elsewhere are still falling, and homes in areas such as Buffalo and St. Louis are undervalued, the analysts wrote.
“The broad national indexes are skewed by high prices in a small number of large markets,” Goldman Sachs economists Zach Pandl and Hui Shan wrote. “While there appears to be some evidence of regional froth, in our view the broader national picture is one of leaders and laggards, with strong rebounds in some markets but still-soft prices in many others.”
In the first quarter, most metropolitan statistical areas tracked by Goldman had undervalued properties. There were 202 housing markets that were undervalued by at least 1%, compared with 140 markets that were overvalued by at least 1%.
“Large cities drag up the national indexes, even if real estate markets in many smaller [metropolitan areas] have yet to fully recover,” Goldman analysts wrote.
Analysts looked at valuation in several ways. They compared home prices to gauges of consumer inflation, rent, income and population.
Most metropolitan statistical areas tracked by Goldman have undervalued homes.
Interest among would-be borrowers in buying a home recently hit a two-year high. Even as home prices have grown, a strengthening U.S. jobs market and still-low interest rates are supporting sales. In hot markets, low inventory is driving prices higher.