Analyst: Home Prices Could Fall Another 30 Percent

Analyst Meredith Whitney, well-known for her work at Oppenheimer & Co. and now at her own firm, told cable television news outlet CNBC Tuesday morning that she expects home prices to fall another 30 percent — a bearish prediction that, if correct, means that U.S. banks and mortgage lenders may yet have their worst work ahead of them. “Home prices cannot bottom while liquidity is still contracting from the economy,” she told the news outlet, predicting that peak-to-trough home price declines will average 50 percent nationally before the nation’s housing crisis is over. Whitney is known both for her bearish calls, and thus far, for being largely correct. Which makes her predictions worth paying attention to. But despite her thoughts on the near-term future of U.S. housing, she was surprisingly more upbeat than expected about the banking sector, saying that she expects banks to post flat to slightly positive earnings for the first quarter. “I think you’ll see a directional turn,” she told CNBC. “Banks will make a little money, as little as a penny a share, but they won’t lose money.” Whitney’s remarks were surprisingly less bearish than comments Monday from another well-known analyst, Michael Mayo, a former Deutsche Bank analyst who now works for CLSA’s Calyon Securities. Mayo went biblical on the banking sector in a research note, predicting that loan losses in the sector will likely exceed Great Depression-era levels. The research helped send financial stocks lower Monday, and they were little changed from that direction in early trading Tuesday. See earlier story. Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments.

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3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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