Nouriel Roubini takes a most unoptimistic view of the housing market and the direction of the economy.
“I’ve never seen a downturn in housing without a downturn in employment or… some macroeconomic nasty condition that took housing down along with other elements of the economy,” he says. “This time, you’ve got low unemployment, you’ve got job creation, you’ve got a stable stock market and relatively low interest rates.”.
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Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide – the country’s largest independent home mortgage lender – recently stated: “I’ve never seen a soft-landing in 53 years, so we have a ways to go before this levels out.
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How bad are the signals coming from the housing sector? As a recent news headline clearly put it: it is simply UGLY. Indeed, all the indicators from the housing sectors – including the latest housing starts and the homebuilders (NAHB) forward looking business conditions – indicate a housing sector that is literally in free fall. New home sales started to fall since the beginning of 2006 and in some regions they are down over 30% relative to a year ago. As Bloomberg summarized today the new housing data: “Sales of previously owned homes in the U.S. fell more than expected in July, resulting in the biggest supply of unsold homes in more than a decade, as higher mortgage rates discouraged would-be home buyers.. Purchases declined 4.1 percent last month to an annual rate of 6.33 million, the lowest since January 2004, from 6.6 million in June, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. Sales fell 11.2 percent compared with a year earlier.”