Expectations Rising for
Housing Market's Spring Season
By Julie Schmit 04/02/2012 USA Today
The spring home-selling season could be the strongest in years and may foreshadow which markets will lead a battered housing industry in an anemic recovery, economists say.
"This spring will be the litmus test for housing demand," says Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist for Mizuho Securities USA.
The spring season typically runs March through June but may have started early this year because of unseasonably warm weather.
While last year was dismal for existing home sales, this year is looking better. Existing home sales in February were up 9% from the same time a year ago, as was the Pending Home Sale Index, which reflects signed contracts leading to sales, says the National Association of Realtors.
Meanwhile, Realtors' confidence in the single-family home market is the highest in four years, according to a late February NAR survey of 4,300 agents. Coldwell Banker says its website's traffic was up 47% in February from last year.
This spring season "will be the best in four or five years," says economist Paul Dales of Capital Economics. Read More >
By CARRIE BAY 04/02/2012 DSNews.com
Despite the fact that key market indicators released in recent weeks have shown declines in home sales, anecdotal reports from real estate agents in the field suggest “better days are ahead for the industry,” according to commentary released Monday by the economic team at Wells Fargo Securities, LLC.
Even builders – who’ve endured possibly the steepest drop-off in business over this downturn – are optimistic heading into the spring, the economists note.
As a result, Wells’ economic team has nudged its forecast for home sales slightly higher, as the spring selling season appears to have gotten off to a strong start. They are now expecting sales of existing homes to top out at 4.50 million in 2012 and rise to 4.65 million in 2013. These annual projections compare to 4.26 million existing homes sold in 2011.
“While employment conditions have clearly improved and consumer confidence and spending have risen, we remain concerned about the lack of real after-tax income growth.
That said, the anecdotal evidence is hard to dismiss,” the economists write.
Most real estate agents are reporting “significant gains in buyer interest and sales,” and these gains are organic rather than incentive induced, according to the Wells Fargo economic team. Read More >
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