Sorry, I know this is juvenile, but when I saw another round of housing market predictions by the National Association of Realtors, that fount of realism, I just couldn't resist.
The Realtors' just wrapped up their annual conference - this year in New Orleans. On second thought, I'll resist any easy quips here involving Bourbon Street.
There are a couple of gems here.
- Chief economist Lawrence Yun, having looked into his crystal ball, predicts that buyers who sat on the sidelines in 2010 will be kicking themselves five years from now. I'll quote from the MarketWatch article I linked to above. "Five years from now, when home values have recovered and mortgage interest rates likely are higher, many people will look back to 2010 and say 'I should have bought a home back then,' Yun said." The writer couldn't resist putting this line. "Clearly, not many Americans are of that thinking today."
- Home prices will rise next year, according to NAR, albeit slightly - by .07 percent. Of course, most other market trackers are pointing to declines on order of 8 to 10 percent
- Sales, after plunging more than 7 percent this year, will rebound next year, to 5.1 million, up from a projected 4.8 million this year, Yun contends.
To be fair, NAR's predictions for 2011, while still much rosier than what most housing watchers are forecasting, are actually fairly subdued compared to the chest-beating pronouncements that have come out of its past annual conferences.
You don't have to look any farther back than last year's conference in sunny San Diego.
Looking ahead then to 2010, NAR's Yun predicted a 15 percent surge in home sales in 2010 and a jump in prices of anywhere from 3 to 5 percent. Of course, instead we got a big drop in sales and the start of another slide in prices.
NAR's chief economist also made some remarkable comments about how the "the fear factor will no longer be at play in 2010."
Better yet, the Realtors were also predicting the $8,000 home buyer tax credit would stabilize home prices and set the stage for a "sustainable housing recovery."
Of course, we all know what really happened. Home sales fell off a cliff when the tax credit expired at the end of April, casting the real estate market into an even deeper ditch than it had been during the depths of the Great Recession.
"By putting cash in the hands of financially healthy home buyers, the credit will continue to help draw down inventory and stabilize home prices to encourage a strong and sustainable housing recovery," predicted NAR President Charles McMillan at NAR's 2009 conference.
Happy Monday morning!
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