Friday, July 01, 2005

Wells Fargo: Decade of Flat Home Prices

by Bill McBride on 7/01/2005 01:19:00 AM

The Orange County Register reports on a presentation by Wells Fargo's chief economist Scott Anderson at the Westin South Coast Plaza on Wednesday. The Register quotes Anderson:

"We're talking about a decade at least – if not more – of (housing price) stagnation,"
"There will be a slow fizzle (in prices), not a pop,"
Still Anderson is fairly positive:
There's a little oomph left in the market, he said. Anderson predicts that 30-year, fixed mortgage rates will remain around 5.8 percent over the next six months, which could help boost home prices about 5 percent this year. Next year, homeowners might see a 1 percent to 2 percent increase in appreciation, then Anderson expects prices will level off indefinitely until incomes can catch up.

Even though much of Orange County's economic recovery can be attributed to the housing boom, Anderson doesn't think stagnant housing prices spell recession, because strength will remain in other sectors like technology and tourism.
Previous housing booms also fizzled. But ten years of nominal price stagnation would be a 30% decline in real terms.

I'm less confident than Mr. Anderson about avoiding a recession.