There's a very interesting article on the front of today's NYT business section about the differing predictions as to future real estate prices, and what to do about the flailing state of demand. Some experts think that real estate has been overvalued for the past couple of decades at least, and that the medium-term future upside will be limited to minor price increases. Those people often believe that we are at the beginning of the dreaded "double dip", and that real property prices will drop again.
Other experts feel that real estate is a luxury good, and that people will spend more on housing if they can. As my most recent prior blog would indicate, I'm in that camp. Especially when you consider the age of the baby boomers, I believe that they will "nest" over the next number of years, spending as much as they can on houses where they feel that they could live in retirement, and where their children will visit them. That would argue for higher values, at least for premium properties. As people spend less on food, they are going to spend their excess income on something, and I'm betting on housing over travel (not as easy as it used to be), cars (not politically correct), and clothing (ditto). Housing is where you can express your individuality without looking like a conspicuous consumer.
If you believe this scenario, then housing will improve as soon as consumer confidence rises and remains higher. For more on governmental intervention, I have an idea about that, too, so tune in next time.