If you didn't see todays Inman news, here's a summary of current reports from the UCLA Anderson Forecast. Overall, not the cheeriest of reports, as reports go. It summarized the current economic outlook as 'bleak'. But there are a few 'bright' spots - and to the extent they can be construed as good news, many involve housing.
For example, one report "The Global Slump" opines that the 'housing market can't get much lower' and calls for a tepid recovery in 2010. That's good housing news isn't it. We may be bumping along that rocky bottom NAR talked about last year.
A California-focused report "The California Economy; Running Out Of Gas" declares that the correction in the housing market is almost complete in the state. That's more good housing news.
U.S. unemployment to top 9% through 2011By Glenn Roberts Jr., Wednesday, March 25, 2009.
This recession will be the longest and most damaging of the postwar era, according to the latest forecast report from University of California, Los Angeles, spanning an estimated 19-24 months and building to a U.S. unemployment rate of 10.5 percent in mid-2010.
In "The Global Slump," one of the economic reports featured in the UCLA Anderson Forecast, senior economist David Shulman states that most of the "contractionary forces" on the economy "will have been spent" by the close of 2009. But the employment recovery from this recession "will be long and arduous," he notes, with the unemployment rate sticking above 9 percent through the end of 2011.
The housing market "can't get much lower," the report states, and calls for a "tepid recovery" in 2010.
The loss of wealth has been extensive: Consumers have already lost an estimated $5.5 trillion in home values and $9 trillion in stock values.
A separate report by Edward E. Leamer, forecast director, describes the regression of the U.S. economy as heading "backward into the future. It's awkward and slow, but it's the only way to go."
An "ideal stimulus" plan, according to Leamer, has a focus on homes, cars, retail businesses and restaurants, and he questions the adequacy of the Obama administration's stimulus package.
A separate, California-focused report, "The California Economy: Running Out of Gas," declares that the "the correction in the housing market is almost complete" in the state and "the downturn in the retail sector is nearing the end of its run.
Jerry Nickelsburg, senior economist for the UCLA Anderson Forecast, states that general economic weakness across California will lead to continuing job loss in construction and manufacturing sectors -- it hit a 26-year high at 10.5 percent in February.
Home prices in California are off by an average of 32 percent since peaking in 2006, according to the report, "and all of the appreciation since early 2004 has been lost."
Adjusted for inflation, fourth-quarter-2008 home prices were about 6.8 percent above fourth-quarter-2002 levels.