The single biggest problem in the U.S. real estate market is simple: There are very few homebuyers.
That seems obvious, but the “buyers’ strike” has caused house prices to drop, along with an epidemic of foreclosures. What’s worse, the long depression in real estate is probably not over. S&P has forecast that home prices will drop by 7% to 10% this year. The S&P Case-Shiller Index has dropped for most of the 20 largest real estate markets over the last several months. RealtyTrac recently reported that more than one million homes were foreclosed upon in 2010.
Many economists argue that the housing market may take four or five years to recover. Even if that’s proven to be true, the all-time highs of 2006 may never be reached again.
A true recovery depends on the stabilization of the housing market... no recovery in consumer spending until house prices stop dropping.