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Mass. Housing Economist Cautiously Not Pessimistic

As the national housing market seems mired in quicksand, sinking slowly as the biggest season for home sales approaches, a Massachusetts housing economist feels less gloomy about the Bay State market.

Karl "Chip" Case, whose namesake Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Index has fallen 1 percent since December, says the Boston housing market is better off than most metropolitan markets nationally.

"Boston didn't have as much overbuilding, and certainly nothing like the foreclosure activity as Florida, Nevada and Arizona," Case said. "I think we're on the same path out of the last cycle [in the early 1990s], and that turned out pretty well."

While many economists say home prices will drop more before they appreciate, Case isn't so sure Massachusetts home prices will get worse before they get better. But he concedes they could.

"It's less likely here, but it's not out of the question," the Wellesley College emeritus economist said. "Before you buy a house, consumers have to be in a pretty good mood. And the banks have to offer credit, too. So there's still a lot of moguls on the way down the hill."

This program aired on March 30, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Curt Nickisch Twitter Business & Technology Reporter
Curt Nickisch was formerly WBUR's business and technology reporter.

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