The UCLA Anderson Forecast has earned the ire of California’s real estate community in recent years by continually forecasting that the state’s housing bubble was about to pop. Now amidst mounting evidence that the market is indeed slowing, the Anderson Forecast has oddly gotten sunnier. According to today’s Los Angeles Times, the UCLA economists are now saying that the Southern California real estate market is “still cruising along at 80 to 90 miles per hour.” Missing from the story were prognosticators Ed Leamer and Christopher Thornberg, who had been predicting a downturn in real estate prices and a subsequent hit to the state’s economy for several years. Instead, a new economist had taken over the forecasting duties, Ryan Ratcliff. There’s always a danger in sticking your head out the window when a convoy of trucks is screeching by. You can be too early and too late in making forecasts. I’ll bet that over the next year, however, Leamer and Thornberg’s more dire predictions will start to come true. California’s overheated housing market will run out of gas.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.