LAS VEGAS — The U.S. economy finds itself caught in a tug of war between economic headwinds and real recovery, says Hessam Nadji, managing director of research and advisory services for Marcus & Millichap.

The biggest headwinds are the ailing housing market, record consumer debt, and a large amount of public debt. The signs of recovery include the creation of 1.8 million private sector jobs over the past 12 months and a continual rise in retail sales.

“Housing is headed for a double-dip recession,” Nadji told a packed room of 700 shopping center industry professionals at RECon 2011 on Monday as part of Marcus & Millichap’s annual retail outlook.

“The U.S. housing market is now contributing only 3% to our economic output versus 6% in 2005.” Nadji estimates that 30% of the turnover in the housing market today stems from distressed sales, either foreclosures or short sales.

“There really is no end in sight in terms of when we can see the inventory of foreclosures and distressed sales out of the picture, so that we can get to the bottom and start a new cycle.”

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