El problema de la burbuja

El futuro del auge inmobiliario, y las posibles repercusiones financieras de una caída sustancial de los precios en los próximos años, es una cuestión de creciente preocupación entre los gobiernos de todo el mundo. Yo aprendí esto de primera mano cuando asistí al simposio de Jackson Hole de este año, en la remota localidad desértica de Wyoming, donde, irónicamente, casi no hay casas para comprar. Los aullidos de los coyotes y el ruido de los cuernos de los alces resonaban por la noche. Pero, de día, todos hablaban de bienes raíces.

Esta conferencia ha pasado a ser un evento internacional importante para quienes diseñan las políticas monetarias oficiales –este año asistieron gobernadores y vicegobernadores de 34 bancos centrales-. Aproximadamente las dos terceras partes de estos países han experimentado auges inmobiliarios considerables desde 2000, la mayoría de los cuales parecen continuar, al menos por el momento. Pero no hubo consenso alguno sobre las perspectivas a más largo plazo para los precios de la vivienda.

De todos estos países, Estados Unidos parece ser el que tiene más probabilidades de haber llegado al final del ciclo. Según el Indice S&P/Case-Shiller de Precios de la Vivienda en Estados Unidos, los precios de los inmuebles en Estados Unidos aumentaron el 86% en términos reales ajustados por inflación desde 1996 hasta 2006, pero desde entonces han caído el 6,5% -y la tasa de disminución se ha estado acelerando.

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