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US Real estate wrap up for February 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mixed signals indicate that the national real estate market is poised for a slow recovery. Existing home sales are up and inventory is dropping. Yet, prices are also continuing to decline. The National Association of Realtors reported that between December 2011 and January 2012, existing home sales were at 4,570,000 units, which represented at 4.3% increase. During the same time existing home prices fell a $154,700 median, which was a -4.62% drop.

On the new home front, the National Association of Homebuilders reported that from December to January the sale of new homes dropped to 321,000 units. Despite the fact that the supply of new homes fell to 5.6 months, which was a -1.75% decrease, prices are stabilizing. This may indicate that this area of the market is on the verge of a recovery.

Over the past several weeks there have been several news items that should effect the real estate market. Moves at the federal level to help a portion of the holders of underwater mortgages refinance, may stem at least a portion of potential foreclosures and thus prevent this further source of excessive housing inventory. The settlement between the Justice Department and many of the major banks should also have a significant effect on further foreclosure-related inventory growth.

The recent growth in employment should also help the real estate industry. However, excessively tight lending standards will continue to retard the coming recovery. It is suspected that many unemployed workers will have problems reentering the housing market until lending standards substantially adjust. That has typically happened during previous economic cycles as workers reestablish employment history and credit ratings – and lending requirements become more lax.






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