¿Qué piensan quienes adquieren una vivienda?

Desde finales de la década de los 1990, en muchos lugares del mundo ha habido un auge de la vivienda. Como sostuve el año pasado en la segunda edición de mi libro Irrational Exuberance, el auge tiene su origen en la inversión especulativa de los compradores de casas ordinarios, alimentado sustancialmente por la percepción mundial de que el capitalismo ha triunfado y que toda la gente debe ver por sí misma adquiriendo propiedades. Al estar convencidos de que la propiedad privada es componente esencial de una vida inteligente, los compradores han presionado al alza los precios de la vivienda.

Además, actualmente el miedo a no aprovechar el auge antes de que sea demasiado tarde a menudo hace que la gente ejerza esa presión más rápido. Esta ciertamente parece ser la psicología del mercado en China y la India, donde se prevé que los ingresos que aumentan rápidamente y las personas que recientemente han tenido éxito presionen a los mercados de terrenos, bienes inmuebles y materiales de construcción. El auge del sector inmobiliario se ha estado dando en las ciudades más importantes de estos países durante años. En China, a pesar de que hay algunas señas de debilidad –por ejemplo, el mercado en Shangai está a la baja- el crecimiento de los precios todavía es fuerte en gran parte del país.

Pero el auge generado por esas creencias no puede seguir para siempre porque los precios no pueden aumentar eternamente y ya hay señales de un aterrizaje difícil. En los últimos meses, en Estados Unidos, los periódicos y las revistas han estado publicando con bombo y platillo reportajes en el sentido de que la década de auge en los precios de la vivienda podría haber llegado a su fin y que la burbuja podría estarse reventando. La psicología ha cambiado repentinamente creando un temor generalizado de que los precios de la vivienda en Estados Unidos se desplomen.

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