A global house-price slump is coming
A global house-price slump is coming
It won’t blow up the financial system, but it will be scary
October 20, 2022 5:12 PMShare
Over the past decade owning a house has meant easy money. Prices rose reliably for years and then went bizarrely ballistic in the pandemic. Yet today if your wealth is tied up in bricks and mortar it is time to get nervous. House prices are now falling in nine rich economies. The drops in America are small so far, but in the wildest markets they are already dramatic. In condo-crazed Canada homes cost 9% less than they did in February. As inflation and recession stalk the world a deepening correction is likely—even estate agents are gloomy. Although this will not detonate global banks as in 2007-09, it will intensify the downturn, leave a cohort of people with wrecked finances and start a political storm.
在过去的几十年中，房子这个东西可谓“买到就是赚到”。房价（连续）稳定上涨了好几年，之后又在恐慌中戏剧性地一落千丈。但是今天，如果你的财产完全系于水泥和砖头的话，是时候紧张起来了。房价在九个富裕经济体中正在下降。美国的房地产价格的降幅到现在为止还不大，但是（其他）最荒蛮的市场上降幅已经很大。在公寓热潮中（译者，可以理解为加拿大版本的不买房的躺平），加拿大房屋价格花费比今天二月时降低了 9%。随着通胀和衰退（气氛）蔓延到全世界，一次深入的“修正”已经迫在眉睫，甚至房地产也不能幸免。虽然这不会像 2007-09 年一样把世界上的银行们给搞炸，但它会迫使（经济）下行，留下一帮人经济疲软，并且引发政治风暴。
The cause of the crunch is soaring interest rates: in America prospective buyers have been watching, horrified, as the 30-year mortgage rate has hit 6.92%, over twice the level of a year ago and the highest since April 2002. The pandemic mini-bubble was fuelled by rate cuts, stimulus cash and a hunt for more suburban space. Now most of that is going into reverse. Take, for example, someone who a year ago could afford to put 420,000. Today the payment is enough for a loan of $280,000: 33% less. From Stockholm to Sydney the buying power of borrowers is collapsing. That makes it harder for new buyers to afford homes, depressing demand, and can squeeze the finances of existing owners who, if they are unlucky, may be forced to sell.
事情的导火索是利息飙升：在美国，潜在客户在恐惧地观望，因为三十年期长期利率已经达到了 6.92%，是去年的两倍，也是自 2002 年 8 月以来的最高值。恐慌的小泡沫是由利率下调所催生的，（它）刺激了现金流和对郊区地皮的开发潮。而现在，这些已经开始走向反面。举例来说，如果一个人选择了三十年期的按揭贷款，且他的月供是 1800 美元。在之前，他能够借到 42 万美元。而现在，他只能借到 28 万美元，缩水了 33%。从 Stockholm 到 Sydeny ，借到这些钱的人的购买力在崩溃。这样一来，新入坑的玩家越来越难负担住房开支，他们的需求在缩水，（更糟的是）已经上了车的人，他们（将）面临经济上的挤压，如果足够不幸的话，他们需要被迫卖掉（自己的房子）。
The good news is that falling house prices will not cause an epic financial bust in America as they did 15 years ago. The country has fewer risky loans and better-capitalised banks which have not binged on dodgy subprime securities. Uncle Sam now underwrites or securitises two-thirds of new mortgages. The big losers will be taxpayers. Through state insurance schemes they bear the risk of defaults. As rates rise they are exposed to losses via the Federal Reserve, which owns one-quarter of mortgage-backed securities.
Some other places, such as South Korea and the Nordic countries, have seen scarier accelerations in borrowing, with household debt of around 100% of gdp. They could face destabilising losses at their banks or shadow financial firms: Sweden’s central-bank boss has likened this to “sitting on top of a volcano”. But the world’s worst housing-related financial crisis will still be confined to China, whose problems—vast speculative excess, mortgage strikes, people who have pre-paid for flats which have not been built—are, mercifully, contained within its borders.
在其他国家，比如韩国和北欧这些国家，贷款的增速是有些吓人的，房地产贷款的问题已经达到了 GDP 的 100%。他们的银行和影子经济公司可能面临导致（自己）不稳定的损失：比如瑞士央行的老板（将现在的情况）比喻于坐在火山口上。但世界最严重的房地产相关的经济危机还得看中国，其中的问题有大量可疑行为（vast speculative excess），按揭违约（断供潮），甚至有人为了还没有完工的房屋付款，感谢太上老君，（这些事情）被限制在国境之内。
Even without a synchronised global banking crash, though, the housing downturn will be grim. First, because gummed-up property markets are a drag on the jobs market. As rates rise and prices gradually adjust, the uncertainty makes people hesitant about moving. Sales of existing homes in America dropped by 20% in August year on year, and Zillow, a housing firm, reports 13% fewer new listings than the seasonal norm. In Canada sales volumes could drop by 40% this year. When people cannot move, it saps labour markets of dynamism, a big worry when companies are trying to adapt to worker shortages and the energy crisis. And when prices do plunge, homeowners can find their homes are worth less than their mortgages, making it even harder to up sticks—a problem that afflicted many economies after the global financial crisis.
尽管不会导致全球性的系统性银行崩溃，房地产价格下降也（足以）令人沮丧。首先，地产市场的繁荣对就业市场具有拉升作用。随着利息上涨和价格的逐步调整，这些不确定性使得人们厌恶（或者说恐惧和担忧）迁徙。根据房产公司 Zillow 的报告，存量房成交量与去年环比下降 20%，与同季度相比下降 13%。在加拿大，今年的成交量下降了 40%。当人们无法迁徙时，劳动力市场的动态性也被抑制了，（尤其是当）公司开始尝试适应劳动力缺乏和能源危机时，这种情况就更令人担忧。当房屋价格大幅下跌时，业主们开始发现他们的房子（甚至）不如按揭值钱，这导致（经济）回升变得更加困难，这将是在（此次）全球性经济危机后，将会困扰许多经济体的问题。
Lower house prices also hurt growth in a second way: they make already-gloomy consumers even more miserable. Worldwide, homes are worth about 90trn), and account for half of all wealth. As that edifice of capital crumbles, consumers are likely to cut back on spending. Though a cooler economy is what central banks intend to bring about by raising interest rates, collapsing confidence can take on a momentum of its own. A further problem is concentrated pain borne by a minority of homeowners. By far the most exposed are those who have not locked in interest rates and face soaring mortgage bills. Relatively few are in America, where subsidised 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are the norm. But four in five Swedish loans have a fixed period of two years or less, and half of all New Zealand’s fixed-rate mortgages have been or are due for refinancing this year.
低房价对增长也是有影响的，它令已经情况不乐观的消费者雪上加霜。在世界范围内，房屋总价值约为 25 万亿美元（与之相比，股票市场的市值仅有 9 万亿美元），（房屋总价）占人类全部财富的一半。在如此大体量资本的崩溃面前，消费者更有可能减少（自己的）消费。（如今）央行们试图通过加息（的手段）使经济冷却，（在这个背景下）信心的崩溃是不会缺席的。少数业主还会在未来面临困境。目前，暴露问题最多的是那些没有锁定利息的（业主），他们面临增长的月供账单。这些情况在美国较少见，因为（美国业主）在进行三十年按揭贷款时，通常会选择固定利率。但有五分之四的瑞士人选择二年或少于二年的固定期限，而有一半的新西兰固定利率按揭贷款已经到期或将在今年到期。（译者：固定利息贷款越来越少了，风险被进一步转嫁到普通人身上）
When combined with a cost-of-living squeeze, that points to a growing number of households in financial distress. In Australia perhaps a fifth of all mortgage debt is owed by households who will see their spare cashflow fall by 20% or more if interest rates rise as expected. In Britain 2m households could see their mortgage absorb another 10% of their income, according to one estimate. Those who cannot afford the payments may have to dump their houses on the market instead.
生活成本在缩水（译者：收入啥的也跟着一块缩，这个成本缩水是指生活支出变少，是指拆东墙补西墙，而不是买东西便宜），这导致越来越多的房主面临经济上的窘迫。在澳大利亚，如果利率继续上涨的话，大约有五分之一的按揭贷款（买房的）债务人的富余现金流减少 20% 或更多。一项分析表明，在英国，有 2 百万房主，他们的按揭贷款吃掉了他们收入的 10%。（而）那些无法负担按揭贷款的（人）只能将他们的房子在市场上变卖（出去）。
That is where the political dimension comes in. Housing markets are already a battleground. Thickets of red tape make it too hard to build new homes in big cities, leading to shortages. A generation of young people in the rich world feel they have been unfairly excluded from home ownership. Although lower house prices will reduce the deposit needed to obtain a mortgage, it is first-time buyers who depend most on debt financing, which is now expensive. And a whole new class of financially vulnerable homeowners are about to join the ranks of the discontented.
（这种情况）就需要政治（因素）介入了。房地产市场已然是一片战场。Thickets of red tape （制度）使得在大城市新建房屋极其困难，这导致供应短缺。在富裕国家的新生人口感觉他们被不公平地排除在了房屋所有人之外。虽然更低的房价会降低获得（购房）按揭贷款的门槛，这是首次购房者在债务市场里依赖最多的门路，但现在（在利息上涨的情况下）它太昂贵了。（译者，这里的贵不是指总价高，如果一个包子卖 10 块钱，它的总价当然不高，但不妨碍它贵）同时，一个新的由经济脆弱的购房者构成的阶级诞生了，并且他们肯定会加入（对 XX）不满者的行列。
Having bailed out the economy repeatedly in the past 15 years, most Western governments will be tempted to come to the rescue yet again. In America fears of a housing calamity have led some to urge the Fed to slow its vital rate rises. Spain is reported to be considering limiting rising mortgage payments, and Hungary has already done so. Expect more countries to follow.
在过去的 15 年间，大量西方（国家）政府在对经济进行反复纾困，现在他们还将会这么做。在美国，对房屋灾难的恐惧已经导致联邦（政府）减缓利率上调的步伐。西班牙政府报告说正在考虑限制按揭贷款月供的上涨幅度，而匈牙利（政府）已经这么做了。（我们）希望更多的国家跟进（这样的动作）。
That could see governments’ debts rise still further and encourage the idea that home ownership is a one-way bet backed by the state. And it would also do little to solve the underlying problems that bedevil the rich world’s housing markets, many of which are due to ill-guided and excessive government intervention, from mortgage subsidies and distortive taxes to excessively onerous planning rules. As an era of low interest rates comes to an end, a home-price crunch is coming—and there is no guarantee of a better housing market at the end of it all. ■
以上情况导致政府债务的上升（状态）会持续，（这也）强化了这样一种想法，即买房是国家为注的孤注一掷的赌博。（靠债务）对于解决困扰发达国家房地产的积弊问题可谓杯水车薪，它们（指债务）中的大部分缺乏正确引导，并且会滥用政府干预，（这种情况）从按揭补助、瞎 JB 收税一直延续到费力不讨好的计划规则。当低利率时代直到终点，房价下降势在必行，并且（在一切尘埃落定之后）并不能保证房地产市场能够起死回生。