Drop in Home Values Takes Experts By Surprise

Who are these experts? The experts who predict employment rates always tell us it’s unexpected when unemployment claims rise. Now we have more experts who were caught by surprise when housing prices declined. According to The Wall Street Journal, home values fell 3% in the first quarter of 2011, capping off 57 consecutive months of falling prices. So why are people surprised?

While most economists expected sales to decline after tax credits expired, the drag on the market has been greater than many anticipated. “We expected December and January to be bad” as the market reeled from the after-effects of the tax credit, said Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist. But monthly declines for February and March were “really staggering,” he said. They indicate “a reflection of the true underlying demand, which is now apparent because most of the tax credit is out of the system, and it’s being completely overwhelmed by supply.”

Note to self: Never listen to experts.

Update: Memeorandum has a thread and linked.