Robert Shiller: Housing Will Not Be an 'Exciting Market,' Put Money in Stocks, Farmland

Monday, 11 Feb 2013 11:56 AM

By Dan Weil

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While various indicators are on the rise for home building, home sales, and home prices, we’re not at the beginning of a housing explosion, says Yale economist Bob Shiller.

For the next five years, home prices could easily rise 1 percent to 2 percent annually, but they could easily fall by that amount too, he tells CNBC. “It's sort of flat.”

Home sales rose 9.2 percent last year, and single-family home prices gained in 88 percent of U.S. cities in the fourth quarter.

Editor's Note:
 Tiny Loophole Found in 70,320 Page IRS Tax Code Could Pay $87,500

It’s difficult to know how much of the recent strength stems from seasonal factors, says Shiller, co-founder of the Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

“I'm not confident at all that it will keep going up.”

That’s because there are so many unknowns, he explains.

“What happens to Fannie and Freddie? What happens to the mortgage deduction? What happens to Europe? What happens to Asia?”

In addition, attitudes toward housing may change, with more people living in cities, eschewing suburban McMansions.

“All these things are in the mix,” Shiller says. “After a major financial crisis we've often had a decade of weak performance in the economy. So we may be halfway through our weak period.

“[Housing] is not going to be an exciting market. Excitement will be somewhere else,” he maintains.

“You'd do better to invest in farmland or stocks. There are lots of alternatives,” he adds, although farmland might be reaching a bubble.

Some economists disagree with Shiller’s tepid outlook.

“You will continue to see some firming up [of home sales] and some price appreciation for a variety of reasons,” Steve Horne, CEO of Wingspan Portfolio Advisors, tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview

First, houses in non-traditional foreclosure states are finally beginning to come out of the shadow inventory. In addition, investors are showing strong demand for properties they can deploy as rentals.

“And there is a lack of other options as far as where you want to put your money,” Horne says. In that sense, real estate is much like the stock market, which has soared “despite maybe the absence of essential fundamentals,” he adds.

“It’s just the lack of more attractive opportunities to invest your money.”

Editor's Note: Tiny Loophole Found in 70,320 Page IRS Tax Code Could Pay $87,500

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