GO
Loading...

Housing recovery slower than I thought: Buffett

Warren Buffett told CNBC he's surprised that housing is not that strong yet.

"The pickup in housing has been slower than I would have anticipated," the Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO said in the interview that aired Friday. "It's [also] true in the secondary market for houses. The prices have recovered some."

In February 2012, Buffett told "Squawk Box" he thought single-family homes were a very attractive investment. If held for a long period and purchased at low rates, he said, houses can be a better investment than even stocks.

Fast forward to spring 2014, Buffett said that housing is better than it was a couple of years ago, "but if you look at transactions and pending transactions in March, it's not booming."

As his faithful followers flock to Omaha, Nebraska, for Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholders meeting on Saturday, Buffett also addressed a wide range of other topics, including jobs, the economy, and how Coca-Cola is taking a second look at its controversial equity compensation plan for executives.

Things aren't going better with compensation plan

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Buffett told CNBC he believes Coca-Cola will be responsive to shareholder concerns about its controversial equity compensation plan for executives—which includes issuing 340 million new shares and options over four years.

At Coca-Cola's annual meeting last week, Buffett abstained from the shareholder vote, which garnered 83 percent support. But according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, only about half of the outstanding shares were voted.

Buffett has called Coca-Cola's equity compensation plan "excessive," and said that he and partner Charlie Munger didn't want to vote against Coca-Cola's plan because he didn't want to show any disapproval of management.

Read MoreWarren Buffett: Didn't like Coke equity plan but abstained

Buffett told CNBC that he wouldn't be surprised if the company revises the equity plan before it goes into effect next year, as suggested in a Wall Street Journal story Thursday.

"They can spread it over a longer period of time, and we'll see what they do. But they've listened to shareholders before and I think they'll listen again," the billionaire investor said—adding that he has not spoken to CEO Muhtar Kent or any of the directors since the vote, not even his son Howard Buffett.

Critics, most notably the activist investor David Winters of Wintergreen Advisers, said the equity plan would dilute the holdings of current shareholders too much. Winters told CNBC Friday that the whole plan should be scrapped.

Read More'Stunned' when I saw Coca-Cola pay plan: Winters

Economy ready to thaw out?

Getty Images

As for the economy, Buffett said he was not surprised by the weaker-than-expected 0.1 percent reading on first quarter gross domestic product.

"We saw in January and February things fairly slow, which certainly in some cases was attributable to weather, in our own case. Others may not have been. But it's gotten stronger since then," he said. "If you have two months out of the three where things really seem to be pretty stagnant, the three months aren't going to be that good."

Read MoreBuckle up! Economists turn negative on GDP growth

He sees the economy on pace "more like it was going into the end of the year." The government said the economy grew by 2.6 percent in the final quarter of 2013.

On jobs, Buffett said: "Most of our companies are hiring, but not all of them."

"It just depends on the industry. It's more or less the same pace that I've been seeing since the fall of 2009."

The interview was taped Thursday. About 38,000 people are expected to make the pilgrimage this weekend to Omaha to soak in all things Buffett. "We're going to have a record crowd, and we're going to have a lot of fun," he said.

Introducing Morning Squawk: CNBC's before the bell news roundup

Sign up to receive Morning Squawk in your inbox each weekday › Sample

—By CNBC's Becky Quick. Written by Matthew J. Belvedere. Brad Quick contributed to this report.

Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
BRK.A
---
KO
---

Featured