An argument for why we should be hearing more about falling home prices

The last several years have seen many stories published and produced about homes and home values. But Dan Froomkin argues that we should be hearing even more about how home values continue to fall:

You might not know it from reading the news, but the nation’s housing prices are in free fall again…

Despite the fact that the nation is officially in a period of economic recovery, the latest data show that home prices are diving. One recent survey pegged the decline at 0.7 percent per month; another found prices down 5.8 percent between August and October.

One analysis found  home values will likely drop more than $1.7 trillion this year, on top of the $1.05 trillion drop in 2009. That would bring the loss in wealth to $9 trillion since the June 2006 market peak, when the housing stock was valued at about $24 trillion…

Dean Baker, co-director of the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research, tells me the story isn’t getting nearly as much coverage as it should — if nothing else because “as you see a drop in home equity, you also see a drop in consumption.”…

What that means is that another trillion-dollar loss in housing wealth — something that could easily happen by next fall — translates to $50 billion to $70 billion less consumption; sort of an anti-stimulus.

This is obviously not good news. I wonder what Froomkin would say the value is in having Americans hear this story more often and with more emphasis: would people be moved to act in certain ways, like making requests of politicians to do something or trying to get out of homeownership?

A link is made in this story between home values, consumption, and jobs. So if this is a vicious cycle that involves these three factors, where do we begin in trying to reverse the trend? With tax cuts – or extensions of tax cuts? It sounds like the one issue that would help out the others is jobs. If more people had good-paying and stable jobs, they would spend more overall and some of these issues of home values wouldn’t be as much of a concern.

h/t Instapundit

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