I focused in on San Diego in my story last night about housing price increases but I wanted to share some of the perspectives on the nationwide and California markets I’ve been reading yesterday and today.

The two guys who came up with the closely watched housing index that served as the foundation of the story, economics professors Karl Case and Robert Shiller, sounded more than a bit cautious in their assessment of the national housing market.

Here’s Case in The New York Times:

“I’m worried. Everyone’s worried,” said Karl E. Case, the Wellesley College economist who helped design the housing index that provided fresh cause for alarm on Tuesday. “If prices sink 15 percent from here, which is a possibility, and the 2008 and 2009 loans go bad, then we’re back where we were before — in a nightmare.”

Case “chided himself” for sounding optimistic this summer and said he now thinks — for the nationwide market — that “the probability is very high of a serious double dip like 1982,” according to the NYT.

But the California areas measured in the index showed stronger price gains than some other places, like Las Vegas, which is the only place not to show any increase in prices in 2009.

Shiller opined on California’s apparent strength in the Los Angeles Times:

“You might have thought that California would be one of the worst-performing states,” said Robert J. Shiller, a Yale University economist and co-creator of the index. “But on the other hand, Californians have learned to think like real speculators over the years, and speculators know you buy when the news is still bad and market timing means you don’t wait until the market starts going up.”

For more, check out an interview with the professors on Bloomberg yesterday and Prof. Shiller’s commentary in a recent Newsweek piece titled “Why We’ll Always Have More Money Than Sense.”


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