This past week, the National Association of Realtors reported that 1) the number of existing single-family home sales declined 6.3% from a year ago while the inventory of homes for sale increased, 2) the number of existing condominium and co-op sales decreased by 4.1%, 3) the median price for single-family homes dropped by 5.9% and 4) condominium prices dropped by 10.1%. The U.S. Commerce Department reported that housing starts during March increased by 7.2% from February, but were down 13.4% from last year.
MY TAKE: While year-over-year numbers are declining month-over-month housing trends, while less significant, are improving. Forecasting housing trends have been complicated by: 1) the simulative effect of the Federal home buyer tax credit - in place from early 2009 through May 2010 and 2) the erratic process of foreclosures as various government agencies investigate the practices of many lenders and service providers. In the short term, housing will likely continue to be an economic drag on the recovery as some consumers confront the challenges of foreclosure and "upside-down" mortgages.