We couldn’t help sharing some good news about the nation’s housing market; it’s not something we’ve been accustomed to hearing in the past few years! Spring has traditionally been a bright spot for buyers and sellers. The weather’s warming up, which makes browsing more enjoyable, and everyone’s fully recovered from the chaos of the holiday season. Interestingly though, a story in the Washington Post posits that this year’s spring buying season may be the one to signal a turn around in the notoriously battered U.S. housing market. Let’s hope they’re right.
Unseasonably warm weather started off the season a little early this year, but there’s other factors that play into why it may be a little different this time around. For one thing, U.S. consumer confidence ticked up a significant amount after January 2012, even though it dropped a little bit in March. The National Association of Realtors isn’t letting that decrease rain on their parade; their confidence is at a four year high! Maybe that’s because February sales of existing homes were at a 9% increase over the previous year. In addition, Coldwell Banker notes that their site traffic is up 47% over the same period - not bad!
Why the sudden surge in transactions, you ask? Pricing has been a big influence, with many U.S. markets reporting that they’ve hit the bottom and are on the way back up. As strange as it is to say, places like Phoenix and Miami are places where prices have turned a corner. (Atlanta, we’re still waiting for you to play catch up). And with renting seeing renewed interest, rents themselves are on the upswing due to supply and demand, making buying a more attractive option for some people. The story is different in every corner of the market, but the jobs market, the key to a full housing recovery, is making a slow but sure return to healthier levels. It’s led to a situation where permits for apartments and new homes are at their highest levels since 2008. We’re not out of the water yet, but let’s keep moving forward!