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Blue Chip Forecast on Home Prices

I participate in the Blue Chip Consensus forecast with around 50 other economists representing organizations such as FedEx, Dupont, Ford Motors, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Wells Fargo, Bank of Tokyo, Swiss Re, and UCLA. This forecast is often mentioned by the Congressional Budget Office, Administrations, and various politicians to say that their outlook is (or was) not too much different from the private sector forecasts.

Forecasting can be a hazardous sport at times. Interestingly though, this Blue Chip average consensus forecast value generally tends to be more accurate than any individual economist’s forecast over the long run. That is to say, it is better trust the consensus forecast more so than an individual economist’s forecast.

So, what is the Blue Chip consensus saying about the bottoming of home values? In the latest January issue, a solid majority of economists said the Case-Shiller home price index will finally bottom in 2012.

The exact phrasing of the question and the response tally are below:

Technically, if counting the small decimal point, the price may in fact bottom out in 2012. But as the graph below shows, for all practical purposes it looks as if home prices started to stabilize from 2009 onward. Of course, there will be local market differences (with markets like Washington, D.C. showing price gains while Las Vegas is showing price declines). It is therefore not surprising that mortgage loans originating from 2009 on show exceptionally low default rates.

Lawrence Yun, PhD., Chief Economist and Senior Vice President

Lawrence Yun is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at NAR. He directs research activity for the association and regularly provides commentary on real estate market trends for its 1 million REALTOR® members.

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