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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Existing US Home Sales "Unexpectedly" Fall

It's hardly unexpected for me. A rather large number of houses are on sale in my neighborhood, most of them have been up for 6 months+. In the last year, I think I've seen one sold sign. No joke. It's a weak market and I don't think it's going to get much better any time soon.

From Bloomberg:

Previously owned U.S. home sales unexpectedly dropped in March as a lean supply of properties kept the industry from generating a stronger recovery. 
Purchases (ETSLTOTL) of existing houses, tabulated when a contract closes, fell 0.6 percent to a 4.92 million annual rate, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 75 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected sales would increase to a 5 million rate.

A decline in the availability of distressed homes and still-tight access to credit are holding back buyers, impeding progress in a real-estate market that’s been a source of strength for the economy. Bigger gains may emerge when rising property values encourage more Americans to put their properties on the market.

“Despite some little turbulence, the residential housing market is still improving,” said Christophe Barraud, an economist at Market Securities-Kyte Group in Paris, who correctly forecast the rate of purchases. “We’re in a transition mode where distressed sales are falling and conventional sales are growing, which means stagnation in total home sales. This situation is not problematic because it shows the market is returning to normal.”

Distressed properties consist of foreclosures and short sales.

The median price of an existing home rose 11.8 percent, the most since November 2005, to $184,300 last month from $164,800 in March 2012. The gain reflected an increase in the share of sales of higher-priced dwellings compared with less-expensive properties.
I love the smoothing over of the news. I'm sure that as the U.S. median household continues to fall, and as taxes and the cost of health care rise, Americans will be all over buying houses.

In the Age of Obama, bad economic news is always unexpected. Except by those who actually engage in business and free market oriented economics.

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