Pent-up demand, the American dream, deplorables: Five things to know about housing, economy from Realtors conference

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Highlights from the outlook of National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, who’s in Orlando Friday for the group’s national convention:

  1. Pent-up demand could spur sales. Yun considers 2000 the last “normal” year for the volatile U.S. housing market. Since then, the American population has soared, and more people are working — yet sales of existing and new homes in 2016 are below 2000 levels. Yun expects that to change. “We think housing will begin to march forward in the coming years,” Yun said.
  2. Income inequality is intensifying. From 2000 to 2016, U.S. household wealth rose from $44 trillion to $85 trillion. “Total wealth has doubled, but it’s a very concentrated wealth,” Yun said. Just 10 percent of Americans have “meaningful” stock holdings, he said.
  3. Geographic inequality is widening, too. Seattle, San Francisco and Denver are creating high-paying jobs. Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley? Not so much. In those areas, Yun said, “The American dream is no longer the American reality.”
  4. “Deplorable” or just desperate? Yun notes a proliferation of Trump-Pence signs in such Rust Belt areas as Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. “They’re clearly not deplorable,” Yun said. “My personal opinion is both politicians are deplorable.”
  5. It’s the robots, not China and Mexico. Offshoring gets more attention, but the clearer threat to U.S. workers is automation, said Dennis Lockhart of the Atlanta Fed.

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