Burbujas para siempre

NEW HAVEN – Podría pensarse que vivimos en un mundo posburbuja desde el colapso de la mayor burbuja inmobiliaria en la historia del planeta en 2006 y el final de una burbuja mundial en el mercado de valores el año siguiente. Pero se vuelve a hablar de burbujas una y otra vez –burbujas inmobiliarias que aparecen o continúan en muchos países, una nueva burbuja mundial en el mercado de valores, una burbuja de largo plazo en los mercados de bonos estadounidense y de otros países, una burbuja en el precio del petróleo, una burbuja del oro y así sucesivamente.

Sin embargo, no esperaba una historia de burbujas cuando visité Colombia el mes pasado. Pero, una vez más, los locales me hablaron de una burbuja inmobiliaria en curso y mi chofer me paseó por el centro vacacional costero de Cartagena y señaló, con voz asombrada, varias casas que recientemente se vendieron por millones de dólares.

El Banco de la República, el banco central colombiano, mantiene un índice de precios de viviendas para tres ciudades principales: Bogotá, Medellín y Cali. El índice ha aumentado el 69 % en términos reales (ajustado por inflación) desde 2004 –la mayor parte del aumento se produjo después de 2007. Esa tasa de crecimiento de los precios recuerda la experiencia estadounidense, donde el índice de precios de viviendas para diez ciudades S&P/Case-Shiller aumentó el 131 % en términos reales entre su mínimo, en 1997, y su máximo, en 2006.

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