What shape is your recovery?
You've probably heard people talking about V-shaped housing-market recoveries -- sharply down, sharply up -- and U-shaped turnarounds (down, flat, up).
But letters of the alphabet as economic metaphors are so 2008. The hot new thing: kitchen implements.
David Stiff, chief economist at Fiserv, tells Time's Curious Capitalist blog that he's expecting a recovery will look like a frying pan. Here's what he means:
Once the glut of low-priced foreclosures thins out and buyers are back to choosing between homes owned by more typical sellers, he anticipates a short increase in price, followed by more-or-less flat values. The Curious Capitalist says, "Following the housing bust in the northeastern U.S. in the 1980s, home prices were fairly flat for four to five years. It takes a while for folks to regain their confidence to go out and buy a house—especially a more-expensive one."
If you're scratching your head over the comparison to a frying pan, picture a two-dimensional drawing: down, then flat, then up a bit, then -- along the handle -- flat once again. (Actually, you don't need to imagine it. You can see Stiff's doodle here.)
This prompted a tongue-in-cheek response from a reader who wondered if the frying-pan handle could "possibly have an upward tilt, or perhaps an ergonomically designed grip," and warned that if "it's a Pyrex frying pan, you could slip right off that handle into the fire."
Ouch. Don't get folks started on the subject of "green shoots," either.