SPECIAL REPORT: NMHC Chief Economist Sees Inevitability of Recession in 2008

By Keat Foong, Executive Editor Boca Raton, Fla.–Economists speaking at the National Multi Housing Council’s (NMHC) Apartment Strategies Conference, being held here in Boca Raton, Fla., today warned that the U.S. economy is likely to tip into recession this year.  “As to the question of whether there will be a recession, frankly, I don’t see how that can be avoided,” said Mark Obrinsky, vice president of research and chief economist at NMHC. Obrinsky cited the housing downturn and the turmoil in the financial markets as major causes of any recession that will occur in 2008. He said the financial markets are “in the worst crisis” since the 1980s and that the housing downturn may be “the most serious” since the Great Depression.  Obrinsky was speaking at the conference’s opening general session which included Hessam Nadji, managing director of research services at Marcus & Millichap, and G. Ronald Witten, president of Witten Advisors. The economists agreed, however, that any economic slowdown will probably not last long. Obrinksy said the economy will likely see two or three quarters of slower growth before it is on the upswing again by the end of 2008. “It is the consensus view that [the slowdown] will be fairly brief,” agreed Witten.