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We're not in a housing bubble, Redfin economist says

Despite sky-high real estate prices, there is no housing bubble, Redfin's chief economist, Nela Richardson, told CNBC on Monday.

"We just have really high prices and shrinking number of transactions. In fact, I think the market is contracting instead of expanding into a bubble," she said in an interview with "Power Lunch."

According to a new report from Black Knight Financial Services, June marked 50 consecutive months of annual national home price appreciation. The average national home price for the month was $265,000, which is within 1.1 percent of a record high.

Richardson said a bubble is usually marked by speculative building and buying, neither of which is happening right now.

"New construction is short of historical norms. We need more inventory, not less," she said.

Construction workers raise wood framing as they build homes in a new housing development in Richmond, Calif.
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Construction workers raise wood framing as they build homes in a new housing development in Richmond, Calif.

Meanwhile, the investor share of existing homebuyers has also been really low, making up about 10 percent of the market, and it's been a difficult environment for homeowners who want to trade up.

In fact, sales dropped last month due to chronically low inventory, she said.

"A lot of them are staying put, choosing to renovate and stay in their existing homes instead of speculate on a growing market and get something bigger."

And when it comes to mortgages, rates are still low and underwriting is still tight, Richardson said.

"It's still really hard to get a mortgage," she said.

And while there has been a slight loosening of regulations on mortgages, there has actually been tightening in commercial and multifamily construction, said Richardson.

"Where we need loosening in the market, new construction, we're seeing banks actually tighten. That's a mistake especially when you see where the demand is."

— CNBC's Diana Olick and Hailey Lee contributed to this report.