Friday, May 22, 2009

Give me a one-handed economist! Has the Inland Empire housing market bottomed out, or not?

President Truman once asked for a one-handed economist because he got tired of hearing "On the other hand...." Perhaps we need one-handed economists in the Inland Empire to analyze our housing market.

A week ago, a blog post of mine linked to the latest cheery news from Housing Kaboom, which included the following:

[E]conomists expect the number of bank repossessions to burgeon in coming months as a new influx of defaulted mortgages proceeds to foreclosure.

Christopher Thornberg, an economist with Beacon Economics in Los Angeles, said the slowdown in foreclosures while mortgage delinquencies increased "was a mirage. It wasn't real. At some point you have to foreclose."

It then went on to quote Riverside County foreclosure statistics, noting that they were higher than the year-ago figures.

But the Daily Bulletin notes that another local economist paints a slightly different picture.

The Inland Empire real-estate market appears to be bottoming out, according to regional economist John Husing.

Home prices over the past few months appear to be stabilizing as home sales volume continues to increase, Husing said Thursday, adding that the economy will still take some time to pull completely out of the recession.

So either we've bottomed out, or we're about to slide down some more. Time will be the judge.

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