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Friday, July 31, 2009

ECRI Predicts End of Home Price Downturn

The Economic Cycle Research Institute, ECRI - a New York-based independent forecasting group, says their pronounced, pervasive and persistent leading indicators predict the end of the home price downturn is in sight. (more about ECRI)

Wednesday the New York Times reported:
"U.S. home prices rose in May for the first time in three years, the latest sign suggesting the battered housing market is stabilizing, but a weakening job market hit consumer confidence in July and could prevent near-term economic recovery."
ECRI predicted this months ago:


Professional Report Excerpt - How to become a Pro Client)
(Full report received by ECRI Pro clients on 19-May-09)

"With U.S. home values far below their boom-time highs, most observers are resigned to an indefinite downdraft in home prices. It is this uncertainty about the ultimate bottom in home prices that has converted so many mortgage-related derivatives into toxic assets. Yet, at long last, the end of the home price downturn is in sight.

One key reason for the turnaround in the outlook is housing affordability, which is hovering around all-time highs. The current combination of drastically reduced home prices and very low mortgage rates has hardly ever been seen in living memory…

Most importantly, the U.S. Leading Home Price Index (USLHPI), designed to predict cyclical turns in real home prices, has now been rising for five months… But a three P’s analysis (see chart below) of the level of the USLHPI reveals an even more promising picture… the recent upturn in the USLHPI is almost as pronounced as the median in comparable past cycles… it is almost as pervasive; and … it is just as persistent. The implication is clear: this is a genuine cyclical upturn in the level of the USLHPI. Such an upturn in the USLHPI amounts to a forecast of a cyclical upturn in the level of home prices this year

ECRI’s apparent optimism about the economy is very much at odds with a stubbornly downbeat consensus. When almost every seasoned analyst is so pessimistic, doubts about the likelihood of an upturn are entirely understandable.

click chart for full size image

But we also know that this is precisely the phase of the business cycle when, in the wake of a major crisis, a “giant error of pessimism” runs rampant. It is therefore especially important to remember at this juncture that the opinions we express are based not on our gut feel, but on a system of objective leading indicators with a stronger theoretical foundation and a more rigorously tried and tested record that any others in existence. Its real-time track record is also unrivaled. Our confidence in their predictive power is based on long experience with these indicators.

While more analysts are coming around to our view about the economic recovery, there are plenty that remain doubtful. Only the reality of the recovery will convince such skeptics, but by then it will be much too late for decision makers to take timely steps to stay ahead of the curve.

We understand that some will be incredulous about our home price upturn call, coming on the heels of our business cycle recovery forecast… it is worth remembering that our apparent boldness is merely a reflection of what our objective leading indexes are telling us today."

The above contains excerpts from a full report received by ECRI Pro clients on 19-May-09 ( How to become a Pro Client)

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