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A wave of foreclosures is forcing down home prices in most major U.S. cities. But economists and real estate agents are noticing what they call a key first step for any housing recovery: a drop in the glut of homes for sale in markets hit hardest by foreclosures.
If we were to see several consecutive months of supply getting smaller, it would point to an improving housing market, said Celia Chen, senior director at Moodys Analytics. Even if it is investors buying them, they are renting them out in hopes that prices in the next several years will rise.
According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index, the gap between the indices of Prospective Home Buyer Traffic and Prospective Home Seller Traffic has narrowed, with an increase in Prospective Buyer Traffic. A continuation of the narrowing of the gap between buyer and seller interest would be favorable to the strengthening of real estate markets nationwide.
In many cases, and in recent years, market prices have already declined substantially. The size of the shadow inventory, mortgages, 30 days overdue or in foreclosure, suggests that problems may not be resolved for two or three years. However, the shadow inventory is declining in size and we may be near the end of continued price declines in many markets. Chart
Standard and Poors
There is very little, if any, good news about housing. Prices continue to weaken, trends in sales and construction are disappointing. says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. Ten of the 11 MSAs that recorded index lows in January fell further in February.
Wall Street Journal
The enormous supply overhang of existing homes (particularly factoring in all those in foreclosure or soon to be) promises to keep pressure on prices for some time, said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc. From a longer-term perspective, it is important to keep in mind that in the seven years leading up to the peak in July 2006, the nonseasonally adjusted national 20 city home price index jumped by 155% (126 index points)â€¦ So far, this index has dropped by 32% (66 index points) in the 55 months since the peak.
I could fill the page with pessimists, hardly a positive thought out there today. I think the most positive take away is that at least this is an orderly retreat, rather than the kind of screeching declines we have seen.
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