In a bubble, market prices are far above fundamental values calculated with reasonable assumptions about the future cash flow. By this definition, there is no bubble in the prices of single-family homes in 2005. ... The observation that real estate prices are higher than they used to be or higher than the values predicted by models using historical prices does not prove that current prices are above fundamental values. ... The relevant question, however, is not how much prices have increased in the past or how fast people expect them to increase in the future, but whether, at current prices, a house is still a fundamentally sound investment. Our answer is generally yes, if the owner plans to stay in the area for many years to come.If housing was "still a fundamentally sound investment" near the peak of the market, then why is the federal government today trying to rescue homeowners from foreclosure? Why is the Smiths' home state of California in such an economic mess?
Congratulations, Margaret Hwang Smith and Gary Smith! I hereby award you the James K. Glassman and Kevin A. Hassett Award for being completely unable to recognize an asset bubble.