Housing prices remain overvalued and could easily drop another 28 percent, says Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital.
“A marked increase in defaults and foreclosures from today's already elevated levels could produce losses that overwhelm banks and trigger another, deeper financial crisis,” he writes in The Wall Street Journal.
Yale economist Robert Shiller (co-creator of the S&P/Case-Shiller indices) found that between 1900 and 2000, U.S. home prices increased 3.35 percent a year on average.
In January 1998, the 10-City Case-Shiller Index stood at 82.7. If home prices gained 3.35 percent a year since then, the index would have reached 126.7 in October 2010. But this week, that figure was announced at 159.0.
“This would suggest that the index would need to decline an additional 20.3 percent from current levels just to get back to the trend line,” Schiff writes.
“With a bleak economic prospect stretching far out into the future, I feel that a 10 percent dip below the 100-year trend line is a reasonable expectation within the next five years. . . . That would put the index at 114.02, or prices 28.3 percent below where we are now.”
Star economist Nouriel Roubini says the housing sector already has fallen back into recession. "It's pretty clear the housing market has already double dipped," he tells CNBC. "And the rate of decline is stronger than in previous months."
Shiller, who predicted the massive housing crash sees a down year ahead and, worse, believes that renewed housing problems could trigger a second recession.
“It’s not entirely clear that this is a double-dip in housing, but it’s starting to look like housing is beginning to resume the downtrend from 2006 to 2009,” says Shiller.
What’s driving the slow real-estate market, in Shiller’s estimation, is the jobless rate. He sticks to his view that the risk of a return to recession is real and that housing is symptomatic of our economic sluggishness.
“We haven’t recovered. We still have a 9.8 percent unemployment rate. We have 4.1 percent long-term unemployment rate, which is extremely high. It’s typically around 1 percent. We’re at near record levels on that,” Shiller told Fox Business. “Something isn’t quite right.”
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