At Delivering Alpha last year, prior to the real estate panel, the audience was asked a simple question: One year from today, the U.S. national home price index will be ...?
By an overwhelming majority almost 70 percent of the respondents in the audience reckoned that house prices would be "about the same" or "slightly lower."
Then they were asked What, if anything, can or should the U.S. government do to stabilize real estate prices?
The options: force banks to halt foreclosures; reduce interest rates; increase tax incentives for mortgage owners; purchase more toxic securities; and nothing.
By another overwhelming majority, the audience decided that there is nothing the government could or should do to stabilize housing prices.
The audience's conclusion was clear. The U.S. real estate market would take more than a year to sort itself out and the government should just sit back and let that happen. But what was the opinion of the panel, consisting of Bill Ackman (Pershing Square), Sam Zell (Equity Group Investments) and Barry Sternlicht (Starwood Capital Group)?
CNBC and Institutional Investor will be teaming up for Delivering Alpha again on July 18 in New York City. Leading up to the conference, we will be sifting through the best of last years Delivering Alpha and previewing this years content, which includes the return of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as keynote speaker. Well also have two of his predecessors at Treasury in Hank Paulson and Robert Rubin, as well as Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. And from the ranks of the countrys best investors well have private equity giant Henry Kravis of KKR, Leon Cooperman of Omega Advisors, Pete Briger of Fortress Investment Group and William Ackman of Pershing Square. For the full agenda, visit the Delivering Alpha website.