Is the housing market really in recovery mode?

A number of industry experts claim the housing crisis is finally over, but with activity well below pre-recession levels, others aren't so optimistic.

A number of industry experts claim the housing crisis is finally over, but with activity well below pre-recession levels, others aren't so optimistic.

A recent poll from Reuters found that an overwhelming majority of economists feel property values are currently at bottom and should remain flat this year before appreciating by as much as 2 percent during the course of 2013. 

However, record levels of student debt, 15 consecutive years of flat household income growth and underwater borrowers are still major issues that need to be addressed, said Case-Shiller Housing Price Index co-founder Robert Shiller according CNBC. All of these factors could force the economy, and subsequently the housing market, into another recession.  

"We've gone through half of a lost decade since the crisis started in 2007," Shiller told the news source.

Real estate property records indicate that similar variables in Japan in the late 1980s, fueled by record lower interest rates in rising property values resulted and a housing market collapse similar to the one experienced in the United States just a few years ago. This became known as the "Lost Decade," and Japan has struggled to deal with the fallout ever since.

Meanwhile, uncertainties about the European Debt Crisis are also holding back real estate developers and investors from engaging in more activity throughout the housing market. In addition, political impasse in Washington, D.C., could force another budget crisis that could add even more downward pressure to the decision-making of the individuals and companies which drive real estate productivity.

"It seems to me that a plausible forecast is, given our inability to do stimulus now, for Japan-like slow growth for the next five years in the economy," Shiller added. "Therefore, if there is an increase in home prices, it's modest."

National student debt load passes $1 trillion

Student debt is expected to hold back a number of future consumers from making major investments, including purchasing property, the report said. Recent college graduates are entering an economy with falling wages and surging rental rates. With the average debt load per student totaling $25,000, much of the money previous generations were able to save for down payments, is being redirected to get out from under the thumb of these loans.



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