美国的房产危机

有些时候即便证明自己正确也毫无快感可言。过去几年来,我一直认为美国的经济是由房地产泡沫支撑着。这种泡沫取代了1990年代的股市泡沫。但没有泡沫可以无限膨胀。随着美国中产阶级的收入滞胀,美国人买不起越来越贵的房产了。

作为美国总统经济顾问委员会主席,我的一位前任曾有一句名言:“不可持续的东西是不会受到支撑的。”相对于那些靠在股市搏杀为生的人,经济学家们从未声称能预测清算日何时到来,更别说确认什么事件会令房产市场崩盘。但有些征兆是系统的,其后果也随着时间的推移逐渐而痛苦地显露出来。

这里有宏观和微观层面的原因。宏观原因简单但又富有戏剧性。有些观察到次级贷市场崩溃的人说:“别担心,这只是不动产行业的问题。”但这种说法忽视了房产市场近年来在美国经济中扮演的角色。在过去六年里,对不动产市场的直接投资和通过重新融资按揭从房产市场抽出的资金占整个经济增长量的三分之二到四分之三。

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