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How they got housing wrong

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moh malekpour

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Elite Member
Joined
May 25, 2002
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Certified Residential Appraiser
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California
Experts thought 2007 would bring a real estate recovery - not the worst collapse on record. What does that say about forecasts of a turnaround next year?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) --Before you put much hope in forecasts for a 2008 rebound in the battered housing market, consider this: A year ago at this time many top economists were looking for that recovery to begin in 2007.

Instead, the year saw historic declines in nearly every measure of housing strength and home building, and left a trail of predictions from some of the nation's top economists that look - at best - foolish.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and his successor Ben Bernanke, after reviewing home sales and mortgage rates in fall 2006, were hopeful that the market had bottomed out.

"It may be too soon to say that it's over. It may not be too soon to say that the worst is over," said Greenspan in an October 2006 speech in Richmond, according to press reports.

In a November 2006 speech, Bernanke said he saw some "encouraging" signs in recent housing reports.

"Although residential construction continues to sag, some indications suggest that the rate of home purchase may be stabilizing, perhaps in response to modest declines in mortgage interest rates over the past few months and lower prices in some markets," Bernanke said.

But those signs of life were short-lived.

By Feb. 7, HSBC (HBC) was warning that rising losses on mortgage-backed securities would cause it to take a $10.5 billion charge. The phrase "subprime mortgage" was on its way to becoming the key global business term of 2007. And few would use the word "encouraging" in relation to housing again.
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