How is it I missed out on the greatest run-up in real estate prices in American history, one that lasted — what — 40 years? After fees and expenses, I made about $1,000 on a home I lived in for five years. Not that I’m complaining; it could have been worse … much worse. And I moved in to a new one for a steal, so all things considered, it worked out pretty well.
For those that had it tougher, hedge fund manager Cyril Moulle-Berteaux offers predictions that are sure to be welcome news. On wsj.com, he writes that April 2008 is the official bottom of the housing implosion. But don’t expect housing prices to rebound to 2005 prices. It just means the negative trends will reverse, and values will begin a long, slow slog back up. He reminds us that the current housing bust is actually three years old. Home sales peaked in July 2005. New home sales are down a staggering 63 percent from peak levels of 1.4 million. Housing starts have fallen more than 50 percent and, adjusted for population growth, are back to the trough levels of 1982 (ouch). As long as Men at Work doesn’t suddenly reappear, I think we’ll survive.