February 24, 2018

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  • This is a seasonally adjusted annual rate, which is the actual rate of sales for the month, multiplied by 12 and adjusted for seasonal sales differences.

    Pending Home Sales Index For November:  92.2

    This index measures ­housing contract activity. An index of 100 is equal to the level of activity during 2001, the benchmark year.

    Source: NAR Research

  • Amid all the news coverage about how the housing market is still in the tank, there’s one piece of news that seems to have escaped most commentators: Housing is at its most affordable level in decades.

  • We’re in the midst of a post–tax credit pause in home sales, but the length and depth of the pause don’t depend heavily on consumer spending. This time, businesses are in the driver’s seat.

  • Whatever deficit reduction might be realized by cutting the mortgage interest deduction would come at an intolerably steep price: trillions of dollars in wealth destruction and a new uncertainty in what has long been recognized as a bedrock of our economy.

  • The latest housing indicators for business confidence and the real estate market.

  • With the home buyer tax credit ended and the housing market now largely on its own, how can we expect the real estate market to perform? In the near term, we’ll probably see home sales slide measurably lower. By the third quarter, it will be up to job creation and consumer confidence to bring in buyers.

    One factor that should help the market is the improving availability of financing for second homes and high-priced properties that require a jumbo loan.

  • In the current market, the idea of a housing shortage may be hard to accept. There are simply too many For Sale signs and delinquent mortgages threatening to turn into foreclosures to make a housing shortage seem like a serious possibility.

    But the big drop in home construction over the last few years suggests that it could become a real issue.

    Home builders must add 1.6 million to 1.7 million housing units each year to accommodate typical U.S. population increases and replace demolished homes.

  • Thirty-year fixed rates may rise to 6 percent by December and to about 6.5 percent at the end of 2011; rates were at about 5 percent in early April.

    It’s tempting to think the Federal Reserve’s recent pullback from mortgage-backed securities purchases will drive interest rates higher. 

    But since it ended those purchases at the end of March, as it had planned to do, the impact on rates has been negligible.

  • Decisions about what to buy and when—by consumers and by businesses—inevitably lead to market fluctuations that sometimes can be forecast and sometimes not.

    We see this volatility in the spectacular surge in home sales that closed last November when households believed the home buyer tax credit was about to expire, and then in the subsequent drop in sales over the next two months, after Congress extended and expanded the credit.

    In the long term, however, broad trends can smooth out these short-term fluctuations.