2017 in Review: Did Experts Outpredict the Man on the Street?

As the year began, with a newly elected president promising to shake things up, here's what people on Wall Street and Main Street thought was coming.

Every year experts predict what’s going to happen in the year ahead, including things that will affect your money. For more than a decade, Money Talks News has been comparing some of those expert predictions with those of regular people — randomly selected folks we run into on the street — sometimes with surprising results.

First, a flashback to a year ago: Remember, as we entered 2017, we had a newly elected president. Donald Trump, who had made friends and foes in the Republican Party, had triumphed over Hillary Clinton and was promising to shake things up — “drain the swamp” in Washington, repeal the Affordable Care Act, press for major tax reform and more. It was a tricky time to make predictions — and they were all over the place.

Here here’s how the prognostications of our interviewees stacked up for 2017.

Stock market

Stock market katjen / Shutterstock.com

Last January, our Wall Street expert at Goldman Sachs predicted the stock market would basically do nothing in 2017 — going up by about 2 percent. Hmm.

Our guy on Main Street was more optimistic — predicting “about 10 percent” increase on the stock exchange.

What actually happened in 2017? As of late December, depending on how you measure it, the market was up an astounding 20 percent.

Main Street definitely won that round.

You may be asking yourself — and now what? With market valuations stretched and markets setting records, is there no place to go but down? We look into that question here.

Oil

Oil rigs in sunsetThaiview / Shutterstock.com

The Energy Information Administration said that in 2017 the price of a barrel of oil should average around $50.

As for what people on Main Street thought: Our guy on the street told us he saw the price of rising to $60 a barrel.

As of late December, the average oil price for 2017 was about $50 a barrel.

We’ll give this one to the experts — and celebrate the outcome as we fill up at the pump.

Meanwhile, if you want to save more on your car costs, check out: “Free App Makes It Easier to Save on Gas — Up to 89 Cents a Gallon.”

Real estate

Home surrounded by greenery in Charlotte,NC.Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

As we rang in 2017, real estate research firm CoreLogic said home values would increase by 5 percent in the coming year.

Main Street was less optimistic. “I think the housing market will probably remain relatively unchanged due to the pending increase in interest rates,” our interviewee told us.

According to CoreLogic, as of third quarter 2017, average home prices nationwide were up 6.2 percent year over year. Of course, that’s just an average. And in some cities prices exploded — most notably Seattle, where home prices were up 12.7 percent.

Check out: “Cities Where Home Prices Rose the Fastest.”

So here the experts were closer. Which means in two of three categories, the pros won … but not by much.

How did your own predictions for the year stack up against the ones our experts and folks on the street offered? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Kari Huus
Kari Huus
Kari Huus was a founding member of msnbc.com in 1996, where she covered international political and economic news, and later developed special multimedia reporting projects until 2014. Prior to that she was ... More

Comments

854 Active Deals

More Deals