The real estate industry must rethink the market fundamentals, the long-held demographic and economic beliefs that experts argued would drive the housing demand into the future. The world has turned upside down with old truisms now seeming trite. In January 2003, Inman News convened a conference on the "Housing Bubble," during which some experts promised the boom would continue because of six "market fundamentals." These were the mantra for the industry for more than 10 years: The demographics-as-destiny argument. The expanding U.S. population -- immigration -- would fuel real estate demand well into the next decade. Low mortgage rates. Cheap credit would keep home loans affordable. Boomer wealth. Prosperity and the rolling over of assets from the Depression generation to the spending generation would continue to ignite home purchases. Consumer confidence. At the 2003 conference, Yale professor Robert Shiller of the Case-Shiller home-price index argued ...
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