Home Ownership: American Dream or Nightmare?

REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 28, 2008 — What does the future of the American real-estate market look like? Will a one-size-fits-all solution work? What should the government do? For answers to these and other questions about the current housing crisis, MSN Money and Reuters recently hosted a compelling and timely panel discussion in conjunction with the Reuters Housing Summit, in which Toll Brothers Inc. CEO Bob Toll, Seabreeze Partners Management Inc.’s head Doug Kass, Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America CEO Bruce Marks, and MSN Money Senior Markets Editor Jim Jubak examined the current state of the housing market, debated potential remedies and offered insight into what’s ahead. Patrick Fitzgibbons, editor in charge of Equities at Reuters, moderated the discussion, asking tough questions that sparked debate, controversy and commentary throughout the room. Who is to fault? The homeowner? The lender? These questions and more drew influential guests from the banking, investing and real estate world as well as the financial press to the 30th floor of the Reuters Building in New York, Wednesday evening, Feb. 20, 2008.

As Congress takes up the issue again this week, and with millions of homeowners facing foreclosure, home prices sliding, financial institutions suffering huge losses, and the overall crisis threatening a recession, the immensity of the housing crisis was clear. The conclusion? Despite their different perspectives, all the panelists agreed that it has been an enormously bad few years for the entire housing sector, and they were not, as a group, optimistic that things were going to get a whole lot better before 2009 rolls around. All agreed that it is a complicated issue to tackle, and it is difficult to determine when we will have the answers to the many questions on this topic.

“While the moods of our guests at the summit swayed from hopeful to concerned to despairing, the tone of the panel discussion was definitely high-spirited and touched on some valuable insights,” said Fitzgibbons, moderator of the panel discussion. “It may just be a wait-and-see type of situation, but it’s our hope that these discussions will help bring us closer to finding the solutions.”

“The past year has been a roller coaster ride for everyone involved in the housing market, and there’s clearly a lot of emotion at play here,” said Chris Jolley, of the MSN News, Analysis and Local Publishing Group. “By collaborating with Reuters and expanding our strategic alliance with them, it is our goal to bring this passionate discussion front and center so we can all take a closer look at where we’ve been, where we’re headed and what can possibly be done in the future to course-correct.”

MSN Money will host video from the panel. Readers can view the video, and find ongoing discussion around the topic, at the MSN Money site.

The panel discussion was part of the Reuters Housing Summit, which took place Feb. 19–21, 2008. All the exclusives and full coverage of the summit from Reuters can be seen online.

About Reuters

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About Reuters Summits

Reuters Industry Summits bring together top executives from key industries in exclusive sessions with Reuters global teams of specialist journalists. During the course of Reuters Summits, exclusive news stories and video interviews are posted on Reuters.com, providing valuable insight into specific companies, business sectors, and economies.

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