Housing Prices to Rise 3-5% This Year: John Paulson

John Alfred Paulson, president of Paulson & Co., Inc.
TimSloan | AFP | Getty Images
John Alfred Paulson, president of Paulson & Co., Inc.

John Paulson, the hedge-fund manager who made $15 billion shorting the real estate market, said Monday that he expects housing prices to rise between 3 and 5 percent this year and another 8 to 12 percent in 2011.

Paulson, who made his comments in a conference call with investors, said home ownership is the most affordable it has been in 50 years. He said residential real estate is 60 percent more affordable than it was at the peak of the housing bubble.

Paulson added that his firm closely tracks home prices in California; he believes they are the most important indicator what the rest of the country's housing markets will experience six months from now.

He also said the United States is in a strong V-shaped economic recovery. He said his concerns about a double-dip recession have fallen sharply since the beginning of the year.

Paulson pointed out that only one-third of the federal government's stimulus funding has been spent, so the remaining two-thirds should provide an additional boost to the economy later this year and in 2011.

He also sees buying opportunities in U.S. and European equities, even though the consensus about Europe is generally downbeat. Paulson predicts a "very strong" period of corporate earnings growth in the months ahead.

Paulson’s company is part of the SEC's recent civil fraud case against Goldman Sachs . Neither Paulson nor his company is accused of any wrongdoing.

During the phone call, Paulson made no mention of the SEC case. Soon after the SEC charges were revealed, Paulson strongly denied any improper or illegal behavior.

The SEC claims that Goldman failed to disclose to ACA Capital Managementand another key investor that Paulson was betting against subprime mortgages at the same time he was helping put together a portfolio of collateralized debt obligations.

ACA was both the final clearinghouse of the portfolio and the company that took the biggest loss when the loans collapsed, according to the SEC's case against Goldman.

Michelle Lodge also contributed to this story.