Shiller on Stocks, Housing

Yale economist Robert Shiller, one of the few to foresee the bursting of both the Internet and housing bubbles, says that while stocks are pricey right now, he still prefers them over inflation-indexed bonds over the long haul.

“Stocks,” Shiller told the Associated Press when asked whether he would rather have his money in stocks or in Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities over the next ten years. “They’re highly priced, and they’re risky, but they’ve had a good historic record. And last time I looked, inflation index bonds have a negative real yield.”

Shiller says he doesn’t see any bubbles forming in the U.S. right now. “It doesn’t seem to me that we’re in a bubble situation as we were, say, in the 1990s,” he says. “In the 1990s, there was just a general mood that we’re entering a new millennium, with Internet technology and advanced technology and America soaring. It was a bubble all over the world, really. I don’t know that we’re in that state of confidence now.” He also says that China’s government has taken steps to curtail what appeared to be a bubble that was forming there, adding that central banks and governments are now more on the lookout for bubbles, which will make it more difficult for them to form.

Shiller also offers his take on the housing market. Asked why he’s been more bearish than others on housing prices, he says, “It’s not so much that I’m forecasting falling home prices as that I question whether anyone is able to forecast them right now. They won’t fall forever, but they can fall for a long time. I don’t know where home prices will be in 10 or 20 years.”