Nice Q&A with Yale prof Bob Shiller on home prices:
What are the main factors driving U.S. house prices? What could push them up, or cause another slump?
Shiller: The main factor is the world economic crisis and the efforts of governments around the world to stimulate the economy. Parts of those efforts have been directed at the housing market. In the U.S., there is an 8,000 dollar first-time home buyer’s tax credit which expires at the end of November. That’s a reason for concern, as it comes to an end. Also, the Federal Reserve has a plan to buy $1.25 trillion worth of mortgage-backed securities to support the housing market. They are most of the way through the program and anticipate phasing it out at some time in 2010 – that’s another thing that will go away. We’ve yet to see how the housing market will continue. Part of the problem is that people are buying now rather than later. When later comes, there could be a downturn in the market.
Is there an oversupply of houses in the U.S.?
Shiller: That’s been a problem. The inventory of unsold houses has been high, but has come down a bit. On top of that, there will be more foreclosures, more homes are going to be dumped on the market as people default. Now, that may show down as home prices will start going up again. But I suspect that this isn’t going to happen. Also, banks have more REO, or real estate owned, that they’re holding on to for the time being. But eventually those REOs are going to be dumped on the market. So that’s why it doesn’t look particularly encouraging from a supply consideration.
Congrats to Dr. Shiller on winning the Deutsche Bank Prize in Financial Economics.
Q&A: Shiller Sees 5 Years of Stagnant Home Prices
Real Time Economics, September 30, 2009, 11:29 AM