SAN FRANCISCO -- Unless there are substantial job losses, the real estate market appears on track for a soft landing, said economists for University of Southern California's Lusk Center for Real Estate. "We don't believe the housing market is going to fall off a cliff. We don't really subscribe to the hard-landing story," said Stuart Gabriel, Lusk Center director, during a presentation Thursday at the annual PCBC event, a conference for home builders held at San Francisco's Moscone Center. This is, however, a time of "stagflation," or economic stagnation coupled with inflation, Gabriel said, and the real estate market is losing steam -- with a general slowing in price-appreciation and sales. Higher interest rates and energy costs, and reduced refinancing activity are also taking a toll on consumer spending, which has sunk from about 3.9 percent in 2004 to a current level of about 3 percent. Despite this, Gabriel said it's unlikely that there will be a major shrinkage in house prices, ...
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