Americans aren't expecting a quick housing-market turnaround
Nearly 60 percent of Americans think the housing market won't recover until after 2012, according to a recent survey by real estate site Trulia.com and foreclosure-tracking site RealtyTrac. More than 20 percent are especially bearish, expecting no turnaround until 2015 or later.
Predicting the market is a tricky thing, as I was reminded when I took a walk down forecast memory lane for this post. For instance:
In January 2008, economist Lawrence Yun with the National Association of Realtors predicted while he was in town that the local market had bottomed. "Ten years from now, people will look back at 2008 and say, 'Wow, that was a great time to become a homeowner," he said. (Instead, 2008 was the year of the financial meltdown.)
In May of that year, the managing partner of hedge fund Traxis Partners declared in a Wall Street Journal piece that the worst was over for the U.S. housing market. (Nope.)
Fannie Mae's chief executive said around the same time that his best guess at when things would start improving was 2010. (Home sales and prices were on the upswing in many places early in the year, but once the homebuyer tax credit expired, that trend reversed.)
The company that spun off CoreLogic predicted in 2009 that home prices in Maryland would be 4 percent higher in October 2010 than they were a year earlier. (Instead, they fell.)
That's just a small sampling of the too-optimistic forecasts, of course. (And they're not limited to words. Here's a visual!) The pessimists have the advantage here -- it'll be a while yet before we'll know if the most bearish of bears are just as far off the mark.
But why let that stop you from joining in on the forecasting fun? Weigh in:
By "recover," I mean "start to improve," not "return to peak prices." But I realize opinions differ on what "improvement" actually means.