Thursday, September 22, 2011

How Much Longer Will Housing Remain Sluggish?

The weak U.S. economy will likely dampen the housing market until 2015, according to a new survey of economists, analysts, and real estate professionals. Home prices are expected to grow only slightly at 1.1 percent annually through 2015, the survey by MacroMarkets LLC and Pulsenomics notes. Yet, some local markets may see — or already are seeing — larger home price growth. The report also notes that home price expectations for 2011 are not as dismal as once forecasted. Home prices haven’t fallen anywhere near the pace of 2008. Still, "average projection is somewhat more negative for each of the following four years," according to the report. More home owners continue to be underwater on their mortgage and foreclosures continue to grow. Meanwhile, lawmakers are trying to come up with ways to stimulate the housing market, including urging banks to write down loan balances for borrowers seriously underwater or loosening standards to allow more home owners to refinance at current low mortgage rates. Recovery would also involve working with federal regulators on ways to rent out or clear the high inventory of foreclosed homes plaguing many markets. Source: “Home Forecast Calls for Pain,” The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 21, 2011) and “Five More Years of Housing Problems, With Some Stability in Local Markets,” HousingWire (Sept. 21, 2011)

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