Industry News

Economists paint bleak picture of housing market

Real estate decline is a work in progress, according to forecasts

It seems that no news is good news these days when it comes to the U.S. housing market. This week, the National Association of Home Builders hosted a Construction Forecast Conference that took a hard look at sobering market statistics while supplying glimpses of hope for a turnaround. Eric Belsky, executive director for the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, said that home builders are "trying to pull out of a nosedive" by dramatically cutting back production rates. "They're trying their damnedest to get out of this," he said. The unsold inventory had ballooned more quickly than anticipated, though, and single-family overbuilding is a key threat to house prices and starts, Belsky noted in his presentation at the conference. Total housing starts this year are expected to drop about 15 percent this year compared to the 1.51 million level in 2006, according to Belsky's report, "A Preview of the State of the Nation's Housing 2007." Single-family starts are expected to ...