WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The prospects in the global real estate sector are “dismal,” with a downturn that could last eight years, the International Monetary Fund warned Wednesday.
The IMF sees problems both in the “bust” countries, such as the United States, Spain and Ireland, and the “rebound” economies, such as the Asia-Pacific region, most Scandinavian countries, and Canada.
In the United States, residential investment remains severely depressed compared with past cycles, which the report said could be partly explained by the pattern in house prices and outstanding household debt. Making matters worse, the U.S. states where the house price bust was more pronounced are also where unemployment has increased the most.
“This relationship likely reflects the importance of the construction sector in these states’ economies as well as lower labor mobility resulting from problems in the housing sector,” the IMF said. Tax incentives in both the U.S. and the U.K. only temporarily increased activity.