More than half of the survey respondents pointed to monetary policy as the likeliest cause for the next downturn, with only nine of the polled economists predicting that the housing market will be the cause of the next crash. Indeed, most of the economists predicted home values will rise 5.5 percent in 2018 to a median of $220,800. But if the Federal Reserve raises rates too quickly, the economists warned, the economy will start to slow and that could spur a new recession.
"As we close in on the longest economic expansion this country has ever seen, meaningfully higher interest rates should eventually slow the frenetic pace of home value appreciation that we have seen over the past few years, a welcome respite for would-be buyers," said Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas. "Housing affordability is a critical issue in nearly every market across the country, and while much remains unknown about the precise path of the U.S. economy in the years ahead, another housing market crisis is unlikely to be a central protagonist in the next nationwide downturn."