International Monetary Fund economists Prakash Loungani has found plenty of reasons to remain glum.

Loungani, at a National Economists Club luncheon in Washington Thursday, presented his analysis of housing busts since 1970 in the countries that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. His prediction: Home prices will fall much farther and for much longer.

On average, the previous housing slumps lasted 18 quarters, with prices dropping 22% from peak to trough. By contrast, the current housing slump has lasted only 14 quarters, during which prices have dropped just 15%.

But the latest boom was so much bigger than the previous ones that it’s logical to anticipate an even more brutal downturn, Loungani argued. Prices rose 113% over 41 quarters, compared with 39% average price increase over 39 quarters seen in the previous booms. …

Loungani said his analysis of prices and rents in U.S. metro areas suggests that many markets on the West coast and in parts of the Northeast could yet see prices plummet a further 30-40%.

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