Former Obama Adviser Goolsbee: Housing Rebound Isn’t ‘Silver Bullet’ for Economy

Thursday, 09 Aug 2012 09:14 AM

By Dan Weil

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The housing market may have begun a rebound, but it’s not a cure-all for the economy, says Austan Goolsbee, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for President Obama.

"When the thing [housing] comes back, and I think in many markets you've started to see prices recovering, it's probably going back to what it was for 75 years, not what is was during the go-go days,” the University of Chicago economics professor told Yahoo.

“If people are keeping their fingers crossed that it’s going to be the silver bullet, that’s a mistake."

Editor's Note: Economist Warns: ‘Money From Heaven a Path to Hell.’ See Evidence.

The housing market itself stands far from a full recovery, Goolsbee said. "We've got five million vacant homes in the country and so the thought that we're going to get substantial construction building more homes, I think it's going to be several years before that happens."

Proposals have emerged among real-estate players for local governments to use eminent domain to take control of underwater mortgages.

The legality of such a move is unclear, but it’s worthy of consideration, Goolsbee said.

“We know there’s $750 billion of negative equity out in the housing market, and that's a huge issue.”

The nascent real-estate recovery may not be strong enough to power the entire economy, but it does create opportunities for investors.

The Wall Street Journal suggests looking at homebuilder stocks, real-estate investment trusts (REITs), and buying homes or apartments to rent them out.

Editor's Note: Economist Warns: ‘Money From Heaven a Path to Hell.’ See Evidence.


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