Housing's up, what about the economy?

9:17 PM, May 30, 2013   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The housing market is getting stronger. A National Association of Realtors survey shows pending home sales are up from last month at a three-year high. Experts predict the sales price of existing homes to climb eight percent this year.

So when can we finally put this sluggish economy behind us? The state's economist says not for awhile.

"I'd like to see us down around 5.5 percent. So that's going to be 2016, I think," said Tom Stinson of the national unemployment number.

Right now the national unemployment rate is at 7.5%. Minnesota's rate is at 5.3%.

"We've got the housing sector pushing the economy forward, and the public sector pulling it back," he said.

Stinson believes the sequestration cuts and increasing the pay roll tax so quickly this year did not help things. And the possibility of another prolonged debt ceiling debate this summer could impact the economy.

But based on a number of other area real estate and economic experts, two to three years is a good number when we will see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

"I think it's two, three years, could be longer," said Herb Tousley, real estate expert with the University of St. Thomas.

Tousley predicts at least two years of steady growth before the housing market is back, which he says is not a bad thing.

"That's a healthy sign for the housing market rather than going into hyper-growth we saw going into the bubble last time," he said.

Yet experts believe this recovery could be one of the longest, if not the longest in U.S history.

In other words, we're not out of the woods yet. Check back in two to three years when we may have finally reached the edge.

"Compared to where we've been and where we've come through, things are looking a lot better," said Stinson.

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