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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Pickup for Housing in 2012?

by Calculated Risk on 12/28/2011 06:16:00 PM

Residential investment made a small positive contribution to GDP in 2011, for the first time since 2005. And construction employment turned slightly positive in 2011.

Now the question is what will happen in 2012? I think some pickup is likely, but I'm not as optimistic as some other people ...

From the WSJ: Hedge Funds See Rebirth for U.S. Housing

Hedge funds run by Caxton Associates LP, SAC Capital Advisors LP, Avenue Capital and Blackstone Group LP have been buying housing-related investments, betting on a rebound. And formerly bearish research firm Zelman & Associates now predicts a housing pickup, as does Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Even some housing skeptics acknowledge that real estate may no longer be the drag it has been on the economy. ... "I'm sold that it's a bottom," says James Bianco, who runs Bianco Research, in Chicago. "It's gone from a negative to a nothing for the economy," ...

Ivy Zelman [predicts] that rising rents will push would-be buyers to purchase homes. A housing recovery isn't "happening as fast as everyone would like," she says. But there are "a lot of pillars in place to give us some optimism."
Of course there are still housing bears:
"The smartest money in the world has been carried out on stretchers betting on a true recovery for housing," says Mark Hanson
I think we will probably see some increase in new home sales in 2012, but it will be from a very low level (around 300 thousand new homes will be sold in 2011, a record low since the Census Bureau started tracking new home sales in 1963). I'll have more on housing and residential investment soon.