Aside from my continuing concerns about the global economy, unemployment rate, Washington’s paralysis and other usual reasons for wondering when the Manhattan housing market will be safely in recovery, four new sets of data have fed my uncertainty.
What first graphically contributed to my doubts was a shopping expedition on Sunday, a sensationally gorgeous day when saner folks might have headed to the beach.
Despite the lure of the outdoors, Reason 1 for my current thinking centers on Continue reading
(Flickr photo by SouthernAnts)
Although the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, there is a loose consensus that housing is about to recover or, indeed, is already recovering.
It’s hard to know where we are. None of the statistical information from a variety of sources is particularly helpful. Anecdotal information is even worse.
When it comes to Manhattan’s housing situation, nothing could be easier than to find rosy predictions–most recently in the New York Times, where various executives were quoted as celebrating a boost in business.
Yet, when I speak to brokers at their open houses, Continue reading
Wolves, not bears. (Flickr photo by Tambako the Jaguar)
There is a basic problem with economic forecasting, and that problem is insuperable.
Here is the problem: Economics is only a behavioral science, and human behavior is famously impossible to predict.
(If it weren’t, you undoubtedly can think of numerous examples of the failure of economists to tell the future as in–oh, I don’t know–the Wall Street debacle. An example in a different context: the numerous mistakes that parole boards make on something as seemingly foreseeable as the propensity of a prisoner to commit another crime?)
As a result, economists always seem to be talking out of both sides of their mouths, having it both ways, being two-faced–pick your favorite cliché.
What got me thinking about this concern in the past week has been several articles that quoted economists, starting with one of my favorite punching bags, Robert Shiller. Continue reading