U.S. home prices hit a record — and Realtors’ chief economist calls boom “unsustainable”

The last time real estate prices were in record territory, the National Association of Realtors‘ most visible spokesman was an unabashed cheerleader. But during the latest record run, NAR’s new chief economist is calling the boom “unsustainable.”

What a difference a decade makes. During the boom, NAR’s top dismal scientist was David Lereah, author of the unfortunately titled book Why the Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust, published in 2005.

RELATED: Palm Beach County home prices hit new post-crash high

During a 2006 visit to West Palm Beach, Lereah spoke to Realtors and pointedly bashed the media for reporting signs of a slowdown.

“Is this a bad year? Yes. Your numbers will be down,” Lereah said. “Are you going to bust? No.”

After a painful and massive bust, Lereah is out, and he has been replaced at NAR by Lawrence Yun, who takes a decidedly more cautious approach. In Wednesday’s monthly housing report, Yun noted that the median home price hit a new record of $252,800 — and he then promptly downplayed the potential for further price increases.

“Home prices keep chugging along at a pace that is not sustainable in the long run,” Yun said in a news release.

Price appreciation is outpacing income growth by an unhealthy margin, Yun has warned.

 

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