Analysts: Economy will rebound | Business | Idaho Statesman

Analysts: Economy will rebound

Missoula Mont. – An economist who two years ago predicted the burst of the real estate bubble says Americans need to calm down, wait out a recession that should end by early 2010, and be ready for the opportunities associated with downturns.
By Dan Popkey, Oct 25, 2008, Idaho Statesman

Christopher Thornberg returned Friday to a regional economics conference where he presaged the meltdown in 2006 to reassure listeners that for all the pain, good will follow crisis.

"Remember, we were in an economy that was on an unsustainable path," said Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics in Los Angeles. "This was a break, and as a result of that breaking those imbalances should be removed."

Thornberg spoke at a real estate and development conference sponsored by New West, a Missoula-based Web site that covers the Rocky Mountain region. The conference drew more than 300 people, including many from Idaho.

Among them was David Eacret, a real estate economist from Sandpoint, who predicted real estate prices will bottom out in late 2009. Eacret said "urban refugees" will again flow to Idaho and other Rocky Mountain states. "People do want to live here," he said, citing an 81 percent increase in manufacturing jobs in Bonner County in the last decade.

But high-end real estate in "amenity" communities like Bonner and Valley counties is vastly oversupplied. In one master-planned community in Bonner County, Eacret said, not a single house has sold in 2008 in the $800,000 to $1.4 million range, and the builder is out of business.

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