The U.S. housing market has finally bottomed out, and after two years of flat growth, will begin a slow, steady recovery, according to former RealtyTrac vice president Rick Sharga.
Sharga, who is now an executive vice president with Carrington Mortgage Holdings, made his comments at the Asian Real Estate Association of America Conference in San Francisco on Friday.
“We’re looking at a catfish recovery,” Sharga said.
Echoing statements he made in June, Sharga said the markets will not recover until the vast collection of shadow inventory properties is dealt with.
“We can’t expect to see home price appreciation until we work through these distressed assets,” Sharga said.
Banks currently hold 800,000 REOs, 75 percent of which are not listed on the market. Add to that 800,000 additional homes that are in foreclosure and 1.5 million delinquent homes, and the U.S. is looking at a couple of slow, methodical years as those properties are worked out of the system, Sharga said.
In addition, U.S. economic news is looking similarly sobering, but with a positive edge. Eugenio Aleman, a director and senior economist at Wells Fargo, said the U.S. will experience slow growth the next two years while resisting a double-dip recession.
“The rest of the economy is not booming, but it’s doing fine,” said Aleman, who projects the economy will grow 1.6 percent this year, 1.4 percent in 2012 and 1.9 percent in 2013.
“We are standing firm,” Aleman said. “We are not going to go into a recession.”