Les difficultés de la bulle immobilière

Les conséquences du boom de l'immobilier ainsi que les éventuelles répercussions financières d’une forte baisse des prix dans les années à venir préoccupent de plus en plus les gouvernements du monde entier. J’ai pris conscience de cela pour la première fois au Symposium Jackson Hole, qui s’est tenu cette année dans les terres reculées du Wyoming. L’ironie, c’est qu’il n’y a quasiment pas de maisons à acheter là-bas. La nuit, le hurlement des coyotes et le brame du wapiti retentissaient, tandis que le jour, tout le monde parlait immobilier.

Au fil des ans, cette conférence est devenue un événement international de premier plan pour les responsables de l'élaboration des politiques monétaires nationales. Les directeurs ou directeurs adjoints de 34 banques centrales étaient présents cette année. Près des deux tiers des pays concernés ont connu des booms immobiliers spectaculaires depuis 2000, dont la plupart semblent se poursuivre, au moins pour l'instant. Aucun consensus n'est ressorti pour les perspectives à long terme de l'immobilier.

Les États-Unis seront probablement les premiers à arriver au terme du cycle actuel. Selon le Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller US National Home Price Index, les prix de l’immobilier ont augmenté de 90 % en termes réels, ajustés sur l'inflation, entre 1996 et 2006, mais ont chuté depuis de 6,5 % ; parallèlement, le taux de décroissance s'est accéléré.

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