An increase in affordability has seemingly enticed potential homebuyers. We believe home sales have stabilized.
Michelle Meyer, an economist at Barlays Capital

April NAR Data
Purchases increased 2.9%, annual rate of 4.68mm, from 4.55mm in March, but they were 3.5% below the 4.85mm level in April 2008
Existing-home sales in the Northeast grew 11.6% to an annual pace of 770,000 in April, which is 10.5% below April 2008. The median price was $237,400, 9.6% lower than a year ago.
—Total housing inventory rose 8.8% to 3.97 million existing homes available for sale, a 10.2.-month supply, compared with a 9.6-month supply in March.

Most of the sales are taking place in lower price ranges and activity is beginning to pick up in the midprice ranges, but high-end home sales remain sluggish. The Federal Reserve needs to help restore liquidity for the jumbo mortgage market by buying these loans under the TALF program.

Fortunately, home buyers are being attracted to deeply discounted prices and are bidding up many foreclosed listings, particularly in California, Nevada, and Florida – this will set the stage for healthy market conditions going forward.

The gain in inventory is largely seasonal from sellers entering the spring market. Even with the rise, inventory over the past few months has remained consistently lower in comparison with a year earlier

—Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, NAR

There have been some encouraging signs in recent weeks that suggest perhaps the worst is behind us. Consumer confidence has ticked up. Housing turnover, especially in certain markets, is showing signs of a bottom.
Robert Niblock, Lowe’s Chief Executive Officer, conference call May 18.

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