Quote: Sustained recovery is no sure thing

From the Sunday New York Times:

The question now is whether a strong case has been built for a new bull market since the home-price turning point in May 2009. Though there is no way to be precise, I don’t believe it has.

Since that turning point, most public discourse on housing has not been about a new long-term view of the market. Instead, it focused initially on whether the recession was over and on the extraordinary measures the government was taking to support the housing market.

Now we’re shifting into a new phase. The recession is generally viewed as being over, and those extraordinary measures are being lifted.

On March 31, the Federal Reserve ended its program of buying more than $1 trillion of mortgage-backed securities, and the homebuyer tax credit expires on April 30.

Recent polls show that economic forecasters are largely bullish about the housing market for the next year or two. But one wonders about the basis for such a positive forecast.

Momentum may be on the forecasts’ side. But until there is evidence that the fundamental thinking about housing has shifted in an optimistic direction, we cannot trust that momentum to continue.

– Economist and Case-Shiller Home Price Indices co-founder Robert J. Shiller, in an op-ed titled, “Don’t Bet the Farm on the Housing Recovery.”

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