Monday, March 30, 2009

More Information That The Housing Market has Reached Bottom

New Home Sales rose in February 2009The national housing market got three pieces of good news in 3 days last week:

And although national real estate statistics are irrelevant to the local markets in which real estate transactions happen, to a country of would-be and wanna-be home buyers, repeated positive news on housing can be a strong signal that it's time to get off the sidelines.

At least, that's what the data is showing us. According to an industry trade group, first-time home buyers accounted for half of all sales of previously-owned homes.

The stimulus package's $8,000 tax credit likely played a role in this 50 percent figure, as well as sagging home prices in most markets and low mortgage rates nationwide. In Philadelphia's very affordable market, where price declines have been truly nominal compared to those in many parts of the country, these first time buyers are seeing even more benefit from the program, and our company is seeing many people acting now to take advantage of the incentive.

But lest we carried away, we can't forget that February's New Home Sales is still the second-lowest tally on record and that two months of data doesn't define "turnaround".

On the other hand, if the trend continues through the Spring Buying Season, we'll likely look back at Winter 2009 as the low point in housing. Since it has been my experience that we only recognize the end of any difficult period in retrospect, these indicators gain more significance in my mind.

(Image courtesy: LA Times)

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