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Early Signs of Recovery for the Housing Market!

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By : Lee Graham    99 or more times read
The Case-Shiller home price index, a leading indicator of home price movement in the U.S. showed some positive signs of the real estate industry moving in the right direction. The July report shows fifteen of the twenty major metropolitan cities indexed reporting non-declining house prices. This was a substantial increase from the previous month with only nine cities reporting improvement. The report also shows that nationally, the numbers are up one half of one percent. This is significant in that this is the first monthly gain in the Case-Shiller index in three years. Kenneth Harney agrees that “when the Case-Shiller index reports that home prices have reversed course and are finally rising again - and you know Case-Shiller has been the gloomiest, scariest-headline-producing monitor of the real estate market for the past three years - some say, ‘We have truly turned a corner here.’”

High Frequency Economic’s Ian Shepherdson also suggests that stabilization is occurring: “The (previous) plunge in prices reflected the freezing of credit and all-around panic, which generated a steep decline in home sales. Activity is now recovering, and with inventory falling, prices are dropping much less quickly and could even rise a bit over the next few months. We would not expect any gains to last, because prices are still high relative to incomes and rents, and also because the uptick in sales will, we think, prompt a new wave of supply, but this is still very welcome news today.”

John Silvia, Chief Economist of Wells Fargo securities agrees that “…Once again TV commentators that emphasize the year-over-year numbers being down 17% are welcome to have their sarcasm but they are missing the point as well as the turn. Recession is over, economy is recovering - let’s look forward and stop the backward looking focus.”

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) also contributed to the sense of recovery by reporting a rise of 11% in new home sales in June. Joe Robson, chairman of the NAHB said, “Today’s report is good news that indicates the nation’s housing market may be in the process of turning the corner.”

Another omen of good news is evident in the reduction of distressed properties as a part of the percentage of overall home sales. The National Association of Realtors reported in June that 31% of sales were distressed homes as compared to earlier numbers this year that were upwards of 50%. While it is true that this number is a little deceptive due to the earlier foreclosure moratorium, it is still positive as these properties are moving and being rehabbed, and room is being made for the second wave of foreclosures. This activity has a positive effect on both the industry and the overall economy.

Finally, although mortgage companies are rolling out more stringent guidelines for loan approval, and even with MI companies requiring 10% down in declining markets for conventional loans, rates are still incredibly low and ranging from 4.8% to 5.4%, and FHA’s required down payment of 3.5% is still making it possible for many to get a great loan.

There is no doubt we still have a lot to overcome in both the housing market and the overall economy. But legitimate good news is a definitely a welcome breath of fresh air. It may well be the time to make a move if you’re a buyer whose been holding out for the best deal. I believe Kenneth Harney’s words may be worth taking to heart:

“We’re past the low point of the cycle on prices…Don’t sit on the sidelines if you’re serious about buying a home this year.”
Lee Graham is an Associate Broker and owner of The Graham Group, a premier team of real estate professionals specializing in Atlanta Real Estate. Their areas of expertise include Residential, Foreclosures, and Short-Sales. View more information at

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