I like reading Lou Barnes’ weekly column. He’s a mortgage broker who seems to know a lot about the financial and real estate markets.

Over the past three months, or so, he’s become increasingly bearish on the economy. More so than I have been. So, I was faced with a dilemma – did I like this guy because I respected his opinion, or did I like this guy just because he had the same opinions as I did!

Probably more the second, right?

Well, I’m willing to continue to quote him, nonetheless, even though he’s more of a cynic than I … that’s what I’m here for, right? To give you knowledge and access to information?

What does Lou Barnes think now? Basically, that uncertainty rules. And we know how everyone hates that.

From his latest column:

The key to immediate Fed action is the job market, and it is holding. Hiring is slower, but new claims for unemployment insurance are steady — still no layoff pattern. Friday’s report of a 1.1 percent overall gain in September retail sales was triple the forecast, but quirk-laden. Chain-stores had their worst September in five years, and consumers are clearly backing away from optional spending.

He thinks we’ll need to wait a month or two for things to work themselves out. At least that’s my interpretation. Meaning, it’s an uncomfortable time to be in the markets, financial and real estate.

(Of course, if you’re buying in a hot local real estate market (or, warm, even), are putting 20% down, and have plans to stay put for at least 5 years, it probably doesn’t matter much.)

His forecast?

A lot of good historical and current data suggest that bottom in housing sales and prices is not far away — maybe a year. Recovery is a different matter. In the bubble zones, as in inventories worked off and appreciation restored…? Try a minimum of five years, in many – 10. Minimum.

More: Markets stall on housing questions – By Lou Barnes, Inman News

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Updated: 1st Q 2018

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