Tuesday, May 06, 2008

He's Baaaaaaaaack!!

David Lereah is back giving more opinion on real estate on the mainstream media. This time in a Newsweek article. Remember, Lereah was probably the biggest cheerleader for the housing market during the bubble years.

Lereah is infamous for calling the bottom many times. Will he call the bottom once more?
His answer: not yet. "We're not at the bottom," he says. "[People] want it to be near the bottom, but we're not there yet. The leading indicators are still very bad. Pending home sales are still in bad shape. Mortgage applications are low … There's still supply out there in abundance … This thing is going to get worse before it gets better."
Wow! Lereah is actually saying that the housing market will continue to decline. The article continues ".. That's quite a turnabout from the view he articulated in his book, first published in 2005." In his book he wrote that "Today's real estate market is the result of rational decision making based on supply and demand conditions with today's economy, home owners are in no danger of experiencing a widespread fallout of home prices."

So what is David Lereah up to these days, career wise?
It turns out he has recently set up a new firm called Reecon Advisors, which is advising Wall Street firms and institutional investors about the real estate market. "Wall Street has an intense interest in [this], because they're looking for when is the recovery going to come, and at what point does the cycle turn," Lereah told me.
After Lereah's history of grossly wrong predictions, why are Wall Street firms taking advice from him? Anyone? Lerah continues and discusses what he got wrong.
Oops. "You knew there were a couple of [regional] balloons out there, and [I] said you could have a couple of these balloons pop," Lereah says now. "But I didn't think this would turn into an all-out bursting of a balloon for the whole nation." He, like other prognosticators (including Greenspan), points to his lack of understanding of the profound effects that subprime lending was having on housing markets. "[I] just didn't realize the scope, the extent, the magnitude of the loose underwriting—not looking at incomes and wages, just providing so many mortgage loans based on [expected] future price appreciation rather than the creditworthiness of the borrower," Lereah says. "That got so out of hand, and none of us realized the magnitude of it until it was too late."

None of us? There were some who did warn about these issues including by not limited too Dean Baker, Robert Shiller, the Economist, and the housing bubble bloggers. It is simply plain wrong to say no one realized what was happening. It is easy to blame his wrong predictions on the subprime mortgage mess. Lereah is desperately trying to restore his credibility be saying 'well gee no one was correct about this mess, so I'm ok.' Lereah is wrong. Others did realize what was happening and let it be known and did speak up. David Lereah has lost his credibility a long time ago.

This blog, the David Lereah Watch was linked to in the Newsweek article. Thanks for the link. :-)

Here is what others have to say about Lereah's statements in this article: