Monday, December 26, 2011

Economists Don't Foresee Home Price Appreciation Until After 2013

Home prices in the U.S. are expected to post a decline of 1.57 percent for the fourth quarter of 2011, after falling 0.4 percent through September, according to more than 100 economists and housing experts surveyed by Zillow.

Prices are forecast to decline until the market’s bottom is reached in late 2012 or early 2013. After 2013, the panelists expect a relatively steady annual appreciation rate of roughly 3 percent through 2016, which is slightly below appreciation rates experienced during the pre-bubble years.
“There is a consensus among the nation’s top housing experts that we have not yet reached a bottom and are instead working through a prolonged bottoming process,” commented Dr. Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist.
According to Humphries, negative equity, unemployment, and low consumer confidence remain the key factors delaying a true recovery in the housing market.
Terry Loebs, founder of Pulsenomics LLC, the firm that conducts the survey for Zillow, says the latest results
suggest expectations for recovery are no longer eroding, as has been evident in past studies.
“This is encouraging,” Loebs said, “but the average survey data are still consistent with a sluggish recovery scenario where eventual price increases will be less than those thought of as normal during the years preceding the national housing bubble.”
Looking at the expected housing market performance through the five year period ending in 2016, there continues to be significant variation among the panelists regarding their individual home price forecasts.
The most optimistic quartile of panelists projects nearly 18.3 percent price growth over the next five years, while the most pessimistic quartile projects a 1.4 percent decline.
“Given the current economic climate and uncertainty around the government’s future role in housing, it’s not surprising to see such a wide dispersion in long-term forecasts,” Humphries said. “As the market starts to stabilize, we should see individual forecasts start to converge.”
In the December survey, the panelists also offered their views on last month’s increase to loan limits for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgages, as well as their assessments of the likelihood that the FHA would require a federal government bailout within the next two years.
The panelists were almost equally split on the loan limit increase, with 51 percent opposed and 49 percent in favor of it. Twenty-eight percent of the 91 panelists who expressed a view indicated the likelihood of a bailout of the FHA by the federal government within the coming two years as “high” or “very high.”

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