David Rosenberg: Housing Double-Dip Straight Ahead

Tuesday, 28 Dec 2010 10:04 AM

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Housing is very likely to double-dip, says David Rosenberg, the economist known for calling the original housing crisis in advance.

The Gluskin-Sheff economist says that all of the government efforts to arrest the downturn “merely distorted” the reality of the 3.7 million homes waiting to be absorbed by a weak U.S. economy.

“Here we are three to four years after the initial detonation, and we’re still left with this gargantuan inventory,” Rosenberg told CNBC.

That puts even more pressure on prices. Historically low rates and tremendous affordability have not helped, Rosenberg says.

“We’re not getting any good numbers as far as sales or demand is concerned. Until we get that, either housing starts have to go down even further to cut into this outstanding excess supply, or we’ve going to end up seeing home prices go down even more dramatically,” he says.

If housing does continue to fall, government will likely have to step in again or risk the recovery and the rise so far in the stock market, the economist said.

The latest Case-Shiller housing numbers show prices fell in October, down 0.8 percent from a year ago. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had predicted a 0.2 percent drop.

“The double-dip is almost here,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P, according to Bloomberg.

Sales aren’t “giving any sense of optimism,” Blitzer said.

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