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Economist Expects Recovery to Remain Slow

lvbusinesspress.comOct 8, 2012

By Chris Sieroty

William Emmons, chief economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, expects slow economic growth both in the "short term and further ahead" as the nation's housing market continues to struggle toward a full recovery.

"The new normal housing market may feel like we're bouncing along the bottom for a long time," said Emmons during a presentation at the 2012 American Credit Union Mortgage Association conference at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

He said the housing market has shown signs of stabilization, "but the recovery is likely to be choppy and weak." Emmons said the reasons to be cautious about a recovery were that many household balance sheets remain weak, lending standards are tight and economic growth is weak.

"Mortgage markets have years to go before normal conditions return," he said.

Since 2006, there have been more than 6 million foreclosures. The expected number of foreclosure starts each year from this year through 2017 is 1.25 million, which is 500,000 more than the normal number of 750,000 foreclosure starts.

That's an additional 2.5 million foreclosures over the next five years, the Fed said.

Emmons said the future of the mortgage markets is unlikely to include private-label mortgage securitization, which accounted for 21 percent of the mortgage market by 2007. The mortgages that make up these securities do not have the backing of the government and as a result carry a significantly higher risk.

Government-backed securitization accounted for 36 percent of the home mortgage market, according to Emmons' 42-page presentation.

It's a "moot point," Emmons said. "(It's) unlikely to return. Private-label mortgage securitization is dead forever, because independent mortgage trusts were a house of cards."

This year's conference, held Sept. 24-27, also focused on improving member experiences, buying habits and trends of younger consumers. And it featured discussion on legal issues surrounding the ever-changing world of social media.


Back to October 2012 Archive

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