On Tuesday afternoon, Trumphop — our Donald-Trump-retweeting robot — surfaced this gem from precisely five years ago.
It’s perhaps only in this era of mature social media that we can suddenly be presented with such a pristine opportunity to evaluate someone’s predictive powers. Trump wanted us to check the housing market in five years? Okay. Let’s.
Using the Federal Reserve’s endlessly useful data tool, we pulled data on housing prices from 2004 to 2017. (Why 2004? To show the pre-recession gains.)
We can start with the House Price Index. Trump’s tweet about buying housing happened in the second quarter of 2012 — at the index’s low. (The recession is indicated by a light blue box.)
While home prices (relative to 1980) climber more slowly after the recession than before, the five-year-range in Trump’s prediction showed consistent growth.
The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index shows a similar trend, although Trump didn’t quite hit the low in that case. Prices had already started to trend back up relative to 2000 prices — for the first time since the end of the recession.
Looking at median home prices, the pattern is a little different. After dropping steeply before and during the recession, housing prices had started to slowly rise again, escalating in the months before Trump’s tweet.
The horizontal dotted line on that graph indicates the point at which values would “fully recover,” in that the median price would again hit the pre-recession peak. Trump’s recommendation came about nine months before median home prices passed that peak. The upward swing was already underway.
Still. At that point, the country was still recovering from the recession, and Trump’s long-term prediction was riskier than it seems now that we can see the full trend.
Maybe it was a guess. It’s certainly the case that Trump’s gotten other predictions wrong before and after. But if there’s one industry that Trump should know, it’s real estate.
Five years ago, if you had the cash to spend, you should indeed have listened to him.