Recovery hinges on lending

Economist: Low interest rates are not enough

SAN FRANCISCO — Money is easy, but credit is tight, economist Kenneth Rosen says — another way of saying what many would-be homebuyers have discovered during the downturn: loans may be dirt cheap, but they’re hard to come by.

Rosen, the chairman of the University of California, Berkeley, Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics, said he doubts the Federal Reserve’s efforts to keep long-term rates low can stimulate the kind of growth Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues are hoping for.

"Rates are low enough," Rosen told real estate investors gathered Monday in San Francisco for the Fisher Center’s 33rd Annual Real Estate and Economics Symposium.