Find the latest episode of "The Uncertain Hour" here. Listen

Time to toss around the R-word?

Stacey Vanek Smith Aug 27, 2007
HTML EMBED:
COPY
A foreclosure sign hangs in front of a home in Miami. Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Time to toss around the R-word?

Stacey Vanek Smith Aug 27, 2007
A foreclosure sign hangs in front of a home in Miami. Joe Raedle, Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

Tess Vigeland: Sick of hearing about subprime? Eh, you’re not the only one. But don’t count on it going away anytime soon. A survey out today from the National Association of Business Economics may add some fuel to the fire.

The trade group’s members said defaults on subprime loans now pose a bigger threat to the U.S. economy than terrorism. And to top it all off, some pretty grim housing numbers today. Anybody want to start tossing around the R-word? Stacey Vanek-Smith takes a look.


Stacey Vanek-Smith: There are 4.5 million unsold homes sitting on the market, according to The National Association of Realtors.

David Lareah: This is starting to look like a typical housing recession.

Housing economist David Lereah says the real problem is that people can’t get the home loans they need.

Lereah: Too many homes and not enough buyers is basically what’s happening right now. There may be buyers out there, but they can’t obtain a mortgage.

That doesn’t worry UCLA economist Edward Leamer. He says banks will adjust quickly and the loan market will loosen up. Leamer says what concerns him is that home sellers are holding out for the high prices of a few months ago.

Edward Leamer: There’s sort of a stand-off between buyers and sellers. Where we’ve got to get to in the housing sector is back to normal, where when you buy a home, you feel confident that the price is going to be maintained, or it’s going to go up a little bit.

Leamer says that stand-off could increase the risk of a recession. If activity slows down too much in the housing sector he says, it could mean job losses and a serious economic slowdown.

In Los Angeles, I’m Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.