Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Housing Mirage

In a notable piece of research reported in the WSJ, mortgage equity withdrawal, 25% to 30% of equity increases, may have contributed as much as 2.3% to gdp over 2002 to 2006. This is consistent with the reports of CalculatedRisk. If one also adds to this the amounts due to increases in the construction and finance and real estate industries over this period, perhaps 1.0% to 1.5% of gdp, there likely was no real growth over this period, none at all. Economic growth was a complete mirage due to the housing bubble. The question now will be whether there will be any going forward. I have my doubts, but at least we are no longer under any illusions.

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