A slow-motion real estate recovery

Experts say jobs, foreclosures play key role in growth time line

SAN ANTONIO — Looking for signs of an economic and housing recovery might be like watching grass grow.

Jed Smith, managing director of quantitative research for the National Association of Realtors, characterized the economic upturn as "a mediocre recovery," and a "very slow recovery … largely because of job issues. We’re looking at up to a four-year recovery."

Smith and other economists, who participated in a "Mid-year Economic Update" panel during an annual National Association of Real Estate Editors meeting last week, were in consensus that unemployment and the foreclosure inventory overhang loom as big barriers as the economy climbs out from its deep burrow.

"The good news is that we’re in a recovery … but we’ve got a ways to go," Smith said.

The loss of about $14 trillion in wealth during the nation’s financial avalanche equates to the loss of about one year’s worth of income for all U.S. workers, Smith said.