Dallas Real Estate Market: We May Not Return To Recent Historical Levels of Leverage For 50 Years, Say Economists

W. Michael Cox is the Director of the O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom at the Cox School of Business at SMU, and a Chief Economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas for the past 25 years. Cox, appraiser Brad Edgar, and economist Britt Fair (Hexter-Fair Title Company) spoke to a group of Realtors today about the Dallas market. Couple highlights:

No inflation is going on right now, the government is trying to stop deflation, according to an article in the NY times.  Almost all the experts agree that we may see eventual inflation because of the economic stimulus — that money pumping into our systems. We may have a window of about 12 to 16 months before interest rates will have to rise to control it.  The Fed can and will monitor inflation tightly 24/7 and may in fact want to see a bit of inflation, say 2 to 4%, anything but hyper-inflation or deflation.

The banks still aren’t lending, what will it take to move them? Maybe higher interest rates.  Cox doesn’t think you can pass laws forcing banks to lend money.  “When the risks and rewards are in balance, they will lend,” he says.  Our day of reckoning for the stimulus package will be when we convince China and Japan that treasuries are worth buying.

Why are the banks doling out TARP funds to the “troubled” banks rather than the solid banks, so the solid banks could lend the funds?  Good question, said Cox.  Unemployment is starting to affect everyone, even in the higher net worth classes. Though Texas thankfully lags the nation in unemployment, layoffs may not be over yet. Two solid businesses now: healthcare and education.

And these men think Americans’ spending habits have changed dramatically, maybe forever for a generation. Just as they did after the Great Depression, people are tightening their belts. Whether they keep them tight and how many years they live lean depends on how affected they are by this economic downturn, how long it lasts. We may not see mega leverage for another twenty years.

Higher taxes may force people out of states like New York and California, and we could see another wave of  sunbirds heading here for our sensibly valued homes. Watch: commercial real estate failings. Be glad we live in a city that continues to attract business and generate jobs as well as technology (intelligent medical systems being developed at Texas Instruments) and varied corporate headquarters.  Buffalo, New York was home to the largest number of wealthy individuals in the United States…  once upon a time. Originally from DALLAS DIRT

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