Some of the nation’s top economists believe the housing market has turned and better days are on the way for the housing industry.
Increases in jobs, credit, and affordable homes will overcome impediments such as rising interest rates, and the expiration of the Federal stimulus program to push the housing market toward recovery, says Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist for Barclays Capital.
“I would bet even odds that we’re at a bottom and that we’re going to see improvement in the coming months,” says Karl Case, co-creator of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index and a professor of economics at Wellesley College.
“The underlying trend is turning positive,” says Bruce Kasman, chief economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Source: Bloomberg, Kathleen M. Howley and Rich Miller (03/15/2010)
NAR’s Home Sales Contracts Index Increases for Ninth Consecutive Month
Americans are inking a lot of deals to buy homes. In October, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) recorded an unprecedented ninth consecutive month of increases in the number of signed contracts. Although these are not closed sales, signed contracts are a good indicator of where the housing market is headed.
Between September and October NAR's Pending Home Sales Index rose 3.7% to 114.1 from 110 in October.
The index is 31.8% higher than a year ago, when it was 86.6. That's the biggest year-over-year gain in the history of the index.
NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, gives much of the credit for increased sales to the homebuyer's tax credit, which first-time homebuyers could claim to reduce their taxes by up to $8,000. “The tax credit is helping unleash a pent-up demand from a large pool of financially qualified renters, much more than borrowing sales from the future.”
-- “Home Sales Contracts Soar in October,” by Les Christie, Dec. 1, 2009.
Report Shows a Large Drop in Home Listings
A new report that shows a large drop in home and condominium listings in the nation's biggest metropolitan areas is fueling speculation the housing market could be on the cusp of a positive trend for the new year. The drop in listings is welcomed news because it means people are buying homes. The change in the market also means those trying to sell houses are not facing the same challenging conditions as last year. According to the survey:
The number of condo and single-family homes listed in 27 major markets dropped in November – down 28% compared to the same time last year.
The biggest drops were made in the western United States, where listings in several major cities in California are down to more than half what they were last November. In Las Vegas, a city hit especially hard by the housing bubble, the number of home listings is down 50%.
-- “New Numbers: Is Housing Bouncing Back?,” by Mellody Hobson, ABC News, Dec. 9, 2009.