The U.S. economy faces "a lot of uncertainty" next year stemming from such factors as energy prices and world events, a real estate analyst has told a panel session at the Urban Land Institute's annual fall meeting in New York City.Ken Rosen, chairman of the Fisher Center for Real Estate at the University of California - Berkeley's Haas School of Business, told a panel session on the post-election scenario for real estate that the risks for the U.S. economy in 2005 include higher energy prices, increasing interest rates, and geopolitical events. What really matters for real estate is job creation rather than gross domestic product, he said, noting that job growth has fallen off after picking up in the spring. Mr. Rosen said he expects "short" interest rates in the 3.5% to 4.5% range next year, resulting in a long bond rate of about 5.5%. Mr. Rosen said he sees a housing price bubble in 30 markets where he considers assets to be overvalued. Joseph Azrack, president and chief executive officer of New York-based Citigroup Property Investors, said Mr. Rosen is "more likely to be right than not" in view of the "continuation of the present administration." Michael Fascitelli, president of New York-based Vornado Realty Trust, said he doesn't think the election outcome will have an impact in the short term.

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