Sunday, November 22, 2009

Robert Shiller Wonders If Recovery Is All In Your Head - And Current Info Indicates It Just Might Be

The co-creator of home-price tracker Case Shiller Index, an economist and Yale professor, says in the NYT, "Beyond fiscal stimulus and government bailouts, the economic recovery that appears under way may be based on little more than self-fulfilling prophecy."

We all want the Great Recession to be over, so we're acting like it is.  But recent data indicates "recovery" is a long, slow way off.
History, and the cycle of recessions since the early 20th Century, expect us to believe in two year downturns.  Shiller says, "....people start to think it’s time for the recession to end. The very thought begins to renew confidence, and some people start spending again — in turn, generating visible signs of recovery."

However, he says, continued vigilance is needed: there is still "nagging doubt" about whether the US is actually in a "recession" or a "depression."  Continued vigilance is needed, he concludes, to prevent the R from becoming the D.

Recent data supports the notion that Virginia, as well as the US, have a long way to go:

The good news is that NGIC/DIA will bring jobs to this area.  Many, however, are already taken. And of 300 employees recently surveyed, less than half said they would relocate.  Meanwhile,

Unemployment increased in 29 states in October...including Virginia. The City faces a "gloomy" economic future.  Are the two back to back bank robberies anything but a response to the bad economy?  More folks are relying on area food banks: a 30% increase in the past year at the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.  The State is facing a 3.5 Billion budget shortfall.

Nationally, the housing downturn continues:

Bloomberg: Recovery Will Wait Until 2010 or Later
  • New home construction drastically decreased 11% in October
  • mortgage applications were at a 12 year low
  • mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures now impact one in 7 households in the US
Reuters: US mortgage applications at a 12 year low even as rates drop to lowest in 6 months

Business Insider: Perception of home value remains skewed:

Nationwide, when asked about their own home’s value over the past year:
  • • 25% think their home’s value has increased
  • • 26% think their home’s value has stayed the same
  • • 49% think their home’s value has decreased

In reality, 72 percent of U.S. homes lost value over the past year, and 22 percent of homes increased in value.

Business Insider Recap

Zillow's latest press release 

MSNBC: Of mortgages in trouble, 33% are fixed 30 yr mortgages, not "Sub-Prime" or "Alt-A"

Mark Hanson via BI: The Slow moving Train Wreck in Mid-to-High End Housing will take years for values to stop falling and sales to pick up

Mortgage Bankers expect foreclosures to peak in 2011
Moody's says commercial real estate nationwide is off 43% from peak in 2007 
WaPo:  Foreclosure and Delinquency Rates Spike Amid Growing Unemployment

CNBC: Housing Slump to Get Worse Next year, Not Better

The best news this week?  Swine Flu seems to have reached its peak

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