The theory that the housing market has bottomed and may be at the start of a tentative recovery was supported by data release by the NAR.
February numbers were the best for that month than at any time in the last five years–since the start of the collapse of the housing market
The NAR reports
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, slipped 0.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million in February from an upwardly revised 4.63 million in January, but are 8.8 percent higher than the 4.22 million-unit level in February 2011.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said underlying factors are much better compared to one year ago. “The market is trending up unevenly, with record high consumer buying power and sustained job gains giving buyers the confidence they need to get into the market,” he said. “Although relatively unusual, there will be rising demand for both rental space and homeownership this year. The great suppression in household formation during the past four years was unsustainable, and a pent-up demand could burst forth from the improving economy.”
The data will need to be affirmed by information from several other sources. Corelogic, RealtyTrac, and Case-Shiller will also release data on foreclosures, major market home prices, and underwater mortgages
Corelogic did report today that
the current residential shadow inventory as of January 2012 was 1.6 million units (6-months’ supply), approximately the same level reported in October 2011. On a year-over-year basis, shadow inventory was down from January 2011, when it stood at 1.8 million units, or 8-months’ supply. Currently, the flow of new seriously delinquent (90 days or more) loans into the shadow inventory has been offset by the roughly equal flow of distressed sales (short and real estate owned).
The Corelogic data would buttress the NAR information, or, at least show some stability in the market.
Douglas A. McIntyre