Three weeks ago, economics expert Karl Case, whose name is attached to the highly cited Case-Shiller Index, was quoted by Bloomberg News saying Las Vegas and Phoenix's real estate markets were "clearly in bubbles."
But Michael Orr, Director of Real Estate at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and one of the Valley's top real estate experts, begs to differ.
"It's quite interesting that Karl Case is actually making that quote, because he has to be on record for making one of the poorest predictions just a year ago when he said that prices were going to stay pretty flat and that nothing exciting was going to happen for the next year or two," Orr said on his weekly appearance on That Real Estate Show, Saturdays at 3 p.m. on News/Talk 92.3 KTAR.
"(Las Vegas and Phoenix) are clearly not in bubbles," Orr said. "In fact, the latest Case-Shiller numbers, if you look at what's happened over the last four months, Phoenix is actually 14th out of 20 in terms of price increases. So if we're in a bubble, what about everyone else?"
Orr added that prices have increased 2 percent annually over the past 13 years, a rate lower than U.S. inflation.
"Who ever heard of a bubble when the price has moved up that little in 13 years?" Orr said. "Admittedly, we did have a bubble and we came all the way back down. But we are just in a recovery right now.
"Once you have a bubble, you get a mindset in all the people that witnessed it (where) every increase of any substance is going to be another bubble. But in history, bubbles have only occurred once in a particular market, and then never occur again until everyone who remembers that (previous) bubble has died."
When it came to the overall accuracy of the Case-Shiller Index, Orr was a bit friendlier.
"I have no problem with the index," Orr said. "It's the predictions that Mr. Case and Mr. (Robert) Shiller make that I have a lot of problems with, because they tend to be extremely wrong."