Friday, September 21, 2007

Who called the housing bubble and who didn't

It's interesting to look back at old blog posts and comments to see who correctly identified that we were in a housing bubble and who inaccurately denied it.

Jane Galt (Megan McArdle) at Asymmetrical Information called it correctly, way back in January 2004.

I called it in September 2004, suggesting a drop in "the next year or two." The peak for Phoenix was in the fourth quarter of 2006, so I was pretty close, but I expected the drop to come a bit earlier than it actually did.

Economist Tyler Cowan was still in denial in April 2005.

In the June 2005 issue of Business Week, Frank Nothaft of Freddie Mac and James F. Smith of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors said that the housing bubble was bunk and they saw no possibility of national price declines in the future. Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research called it a bubble. Mike Englund of Action Economics fell somewhere in between, saying that "It's bubble behavior" but "not clear that the recent price gains in the housing market are a bubble."

Economist Edward Stringham told me he didn't think there was a housing bubble in November 2005.

Economist Greg Mankiw hinted that he thought there was a bubble in June 2006.

In the Fall 2007 issue of USAA Magazine, just delivered to my home yesterday, an article titled "Real (Estate) page turners" quotes "The Apprentice: Season 3" winner Kendra Todd, author of Risk and Grow Rich: How to Make Millions in Real Estate:
Ms. Todd disagrees with those who say there has been a bust for real estate. "What's dropped in some areas is market expectations more than market values," she argues.
I think Ms. Todd should start working on her manuscript for Risk and Grow Poor: How to Lose Millions in Real Estate. Of course, I doubt she makes most of her income from real estate investing, rather than book sales and her hosting of HGTV's "My House Is Worth What?"

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