Rosen gives mixed outlook at econ symposium

November 24, 2008 6:41:22 PM PST
No one knows the real estate market's problems better than the nations builders, brokers and developers at the California Association of Realtors.

They all attended Monday's 31st Annual Real Estate and Economics Symposium at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco to get a sense of how long it could be before they climb out of a very deep hole.

Their guru, Ken Rosen, is the chair of UC's Fisher Center for Real Estate.

He says, "There's no easy, quick silver bullet. It's going to take time. I think concentrating on solving first the housing problem is a good one because housing is going to have to lead us back."

The housing market is caught up in a vortex at the mercy of the overall economy and its recovery.

Leslie Appleton-Young is the Chief Economist for the California Association of Realtors.

She thinks, "The more people who lose their jobs, the more inventory we're going to have, the more prices are going to decline. And that's going to suck people into the 'I don't have any equity in my home... What am I going to do?'"

Many economists predict first signs of an economic turnaround are 18 months away, but the housing market may lag until 2012.

"Percentage of sales that are occurring are just shifting to the foreclosure market, and that is just dropping the values. It's tumbling across California. Values are just hitting the bottom," said real estate broker Steve Williams.

Many at the symposium were encouraged by federal intervention to help Citigroup.

"The last thing we needed was Citicorp going under or having severe difficulties. That would have broken the confidence of the average consumer as well as Wall Street. We couldn't allow that," said real estate developer Richard Wollack.

East Bay realtor Joan Duffield echoed two words she heard that will be key to a housing market comeback.

"Credit and confidence? If we have those two, we'll be back in business," she said.

However, a major concern for the real estate market is rising unemployment. Ken Rosen is predicting that California's current rate of 8.2% could top out at 10%.


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