Friday, April 2, 2010

White House Admits Housing Will Not Recover Anytime Soon

White House Admits Housing Will Not Recover Anytime Soon

I read this Economy Watch article about the March 2010 US Unemployment Rate in which the White House basically admits (at least in a round about way) that the US housing market cannot rebound to anywhere near peak 2005-2007 (depending on the market) price levels until at least 2017. The article doesn't actually say this, but it states "The White House does not expect the rate to return to its healthy-economy level of 5 percent until at least 2017." Based on the fact that a healthy (i.e. low) unemployment rate is required to drive housing (employment has long been one of the major drivers of housing), one can only logically conclude that housing prices cannot improve to peak levels until unemployment also does the same. Therefore, the White House's 2017 "healthy-economy" unemployment rate prediction is also basically a prediction for the housing market as well. Given that political predictions usually appear to be "spun" for political gain I a guessing that 2017 is an optimistic estimate.

There are those like myself that remain "bearish" on the economy for the next several years. However, despite this many people are still "bullish" on the US economy due to the "economy always having bounced back." Unfortunately, I believe that this time is different (in a bad way) due to the following:
  • Absurdly high levels of private and public debt that is near peak levels.
  • Ill advised government deficit spending that is only adding to the already enormous debt. Think healthcare (aka Obamacare), Cap and Trade (aka Cap and Tax), etc.
  • The US's rapid movement toward socialism.
  • Unlike previous recessions, US manufacturing is basically dead and not likely to come back.
The issues above (i.e. combination of the huge debt, accelerated deficit spending and movement to socialism) will result in the US government having to hike taxes significantly, which will in turn reduce the incentive and ability to earn a profit so businesses will hire less workers, fewer business will be started, fewer businesses will be expanded and more businesses will close or merge resulting in less jobs.

I think many people will be "surprised" and "shocked" when all of this ends badly. They will then be "uncertain" about the future, etc. However, my view is that the near future (unforseen natural disasters, etc. aside) is little more than a small extension of the past and present, and, as a result is already set to a large degree based on the events and actions in the past and recent past. Given that I am reasonably sure that the short term future is very dim for the US economy, housing and more. As a result there will be many more foreclosures and short sales over the next 5-10 years.

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