Does The Market Really Change Every Seven Years

Dated: 10/30/2019

Views: 272

Does the market really change every seven years?


The market changes every seven years. And now it’s ready to take a big turn. Have you heard that? Is there really such a thing as a “seven-year rule”? Is it legitimate? Let’s talk about it.


1) Behavior: The market doesn’t have to behave a certain way every seven years. Bottom line. Case-in-point: We’ve had almost eight years of price growth in Sacramento in the current price cycle.

2) There is a cycle: Sometimes we only hear about the market being “hot”, but there really is a rhythm over years where prices go up and down. In many locations the market tends to change every decade or so, so I get why people believe in the seven-year rule. But keep in mind some markets are more flat over time rather than super cyclical like California (big point).

3) Talking in a range: I’m not a huge fan of being dogmatic about seven years, so I prefer to hear things like, “The market tends to change every 7-10 years or so.” Of course this type of statement might be totally off in some areas of the country, but in my market I get it when people say this because of historical data.

Now to some new images…

PRICE CYCLE IMAGES: I used the Freddie Mac Price Index to tell the story of the market over four decades. I like this price metric because it goes back 40 years. I’d love to use MLS instead, but that only goes back 20 years. Anyone have a different metric suggestion?

How long were the past few UP cycles before the market turned?

1980s:  7.9 years
1990s: 10 years
Current:  7.5 years

1980s:  7.1 years
1990s:  8.6 years
Current:  7.7 years

How long did the past few DOWN cycles last?

1980s:  9 months
1990s:  5.5 years
2000s:  5.6 years

1980s:  17 months
1990s:  5.9 years
2000s:  5.9 years

NOTE: It’s tempting to try to predict this next cycle based on the past few, but be really careful with that. There is no rule that says the market always has to behave the same.

Bonus (Adjusted for Inflation): I adjusted for inflation here to help compare dollar amounts over decades (and to satisfy econ / grad student friends who prod me about this). 

OTHER CYCLE CHARTS: I have other price cycle charts based on MLS data over the past 20 years. I have charts for Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, & El Dorado County. See my big monthly market update (scroll to “price cycles”).

I hope this was interesting or helpful.


Do you want to know how to make a price cycle graph? I made a template to help you do this. Download my template and follow the instructions in the Excel file. If you make something, please tag me online or email me. I’d love to see what your market looks like. Here’s a video tutorial. Here are a few more tutorials also.

Questions: What stands out to you in the images above? Any other thoughts about price cycles?

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