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Economy

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Poll: Recovery to reach ’15

71 percent say revival in real estate inspires optimism

– The U.S. economy will continue to recover until at least 2015 without tumbling into a recession, achieving the sustained growth that has eluded it since the last slump ended four years ago, according to a Bloomberg poll.

With the economy creating an average of 208,000 jobs a month since November, 69 percent of those surveyed call the recovery “sustainable” while 27 percent anticipate a new recession within two years, according to the global poll of investors, analysts and traders who are Bloomberg subscribers.

“I expect growth to accelerate,” says respondent Brandon Fitzpatrick, 35, a portfolio manager for D.B. Fitzpatrick in Boise, Idaho. “Consumers’ balance sheets are improving, and consumption is set to pick up.”

The prospect of increasing energy independence, a rise in home values after years of decline and a pause in the partisan budgetary battles in Washington are driving investor sentiment.

Real estate, the epicenter of the 2008 financial crisis, is a big part of the optimism.

Even after this week’s reported drop in April’s housing starts, homebuilders began work on 853,000 new homes, up 78 percent from the April 2009 low.

After watching the housing crash erase more than $7 trillion worth of wealth, homeowners have recovered about $2 trillion in real estate holdings, according to Federal Reserve data.

In the poll, 71 percent of Bloomberg customers say the recent home-price increase in major U.S. markets is evidence of a genuine recovery in values; 21 percent say it’s a sign that a new bubble is inflating.

“Anyone who isn’t long real estate housing is a moron,” says Stan Jonas, 64, managing partner of Axiom Management Partners in New York, speaking before the April figures were released.

If the poll consensus is correct, the expansion will eventually exceed the 58-month length of the average postwar recovery, as determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The survey of 906 Bloomberg customers was conducted by Selzer & Co., a pollster in Des Moines, Iowa.

The results carry a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

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