The best way to sum up housing market news right now is: the data show things are improving, but remain at not-so-great levels. Sorry to break it to you this way, but at least there are some positives.
Let’s dig in:
- New home sales were up 23.6 percent in June, according to Census Bureau statistics. And while this was a great increase from May, the rate was 16.7 percent below the level in June 2009.
- Also, home prices rose in May, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller 10-city and 20-city home prices indexes. Prices in the 10-city index increased 1.2 percent and prices in the 20-city index increased 1.3 percent. Compared with a year earlier, the 10-city index rose 5.4 percent and the 20-city reading increased 4.6 percent.
- Existing home sales slowed 5.1 percent in June from May, according to figures reported by the National Association of Realtors. It was the second month of decline for existing sales, which many say was partly due to the expiration of the housing tax credit (contracts had to be in place by April 30 to qualify). But the June sales figures were up 9.8 percent from June 2009. NAR also said the inventories were up and prices were stable.
Now, the fun part: what does all this mean?
Well, first let’s not overlook the fact that there are indeed sales happening. So even if you’re of the “sky is falling” mind, you can’t deny that people are still buying and selling homes.
Second, we all pretty much knew that home sales would dip in the months after the tax credit expired. While the tax credit may not have created transactions out of thin air, it certainly put a fire under a great number of buyers to move quickly. Now the market doesn’t have those buyers who, under normal circumstances, may have bought in the summer instead of the spring.
Third, the fact that prices held steady and showed some increase is a good sign.
The reality here is that the housing market moves on. Life events will continue to drive transactions. Sure, times are tough for home sellers and those of us who work in this industry. But we at Intero actually see these times as a great opportunity to succeed. There are some great deals out there for today’s buyers and investors. Borrowing conditions are fantastic for those who qualify.
These are times when innovation really does stand out and make a difference.