The Housing Chronicles Blog: IBS Economic Forecast calls for difficult 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

IBS Economic Forecast calls for difficult 2009

Reporting from the International Builders Show in Las Vegas - I attended the IBS Economic Forecast yesterday, and David Crowe, Chief Economist for the NAHB, as well as economists from Freddie Mac and PMI, are predicting a difficult 2009 as 1.5 unsold units (many of which are resales and not new homes) will take time to absorb. From a BuilderOnline story:

A subdued group of economists speaking at the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas this morning agreed on one thing: the housing market will weaken still more in 2009.

“My forecast is built upon an imbalance of supply and demand,” said David Crowe, chief economist at the NAHB, who estimates the country currently has more than 1.5 million existing and new homes available for sale or for rent that no one wants or can afford to buy.

Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac, and David Berson, chief economist at The PMI Group, also spoke during the morning press conference.

Such excess inventory—the result of foreclosures and other factors--is hammering builders in specific and the housing market in general as home values slide. (Overbuilding by new-home builders is not a factor in this excess supply, according to Crowe, who said that less than one-third of those 1.5 million excess homes are new. “What builders are facing is an oversupply of homes not entirely of their making,” he said.)

Regardless of the reason, home prices are expected to weaken still more, particularly in major metropolitan areas, according to Berson, who suggested it may take two to three years for the housing market to stabilize. According to a proprietary index developed by PMI, 97 percent of the nation’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) are at risk of having lower home prices in two years than they did in late 2008. For some of the most troubled markets—Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., and many in Florida—the likelihood of having lower home prices is more than 99 percent.

Click here for full story.

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