Economist Karl Case on Homeownership

Karl Case, a co-creator of the Case-Shiller home price index, writes in today’s New York Times on the state of homeownership:

Depressing, yes — but the end of a dream? Not exactly. I have never quite understood what the American dream really means when it comes to housing. For some people, it means having a solid and fairly safe long-term investment that is coupled with the satisfaction of owning the house they live in. That dream is still alive.

But for people with a more realistic version of the American dream, buying a house now can make a lot of sense.

Case concludes:

This financial crisis has made us all too aware that we live in a Catch-22 world: the performance of the housing market drives the economy, and the performance of the economy drives the housing market. But housing has perhaps never been a better bargain, and sooner or later buyers will regain faith, inventories will shrink to reasonable levels, prices will rise and we’ll even start building again. The American dream is not dead — it’s just taking a well-deserved rest.



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