February 28, 2012 in Business

Buffett’s bet: Houses, hormones

 

The U.S. housing market disappointed Warren Buffett last year, but he hasn’t given up hope.

Buffett said in his annual shareholder letter, posted this weekend, that he was “dead wrong” when he predicted last year that the rebound in U.S. home prices would begin within a year.

This year, though, he’s betting again that the housing market will recover, and for an interesting reason: hormones.

As Buffett explains it, the housing market is currently depressed because young Americans have stayed at home rather than going out and setting up their own households.

“People may postpone hitching up during uncertain times, but eventually hormones take over,” Buffett wrote in the letter to shareholders in his investment company Berkshire Hathaway.

That is not the entirety of his argument. He also says that homebuilders are not creating enough new supply. As a result, the excess inventory that built up after the financial crisis is slowly disappearing, paving the way for new demand.

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