Existing home sales went down 2.2 percent in October, dropping to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.43 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales went down 25.9 percent compared to October 2009, when home sales were high due to the approaching deadline for the first-time buyer tax credit. Each of the four NAR regions reported drops in existing home sales.
The housing market’s “shadow inventory”—unlisted bank-owned homes and potential foreclosures—rose compared to 2009, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. A report by CoreLogic, a real estate research firm, estimated that there were 2.1 million units in the shadow inventory in August, or about an eight-month supply. The number increased by 10 percent over August 2009.
The Obama administration’s monthly Housing Scorecard for November indicated that although the housing market remains fragile, home prices continue to stabilize and home affordability is up. The report noted that both new and existing home sales decreased compared to the first half of 2010, but this was expected following the expiration of the home buyer tax credit.
A survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed a major increase in the number of first-time home buyers in 2010. The 2010 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers surveyed consumers who purchased a home between July 2009 and June 2010. Fifty percent of purchasers during that period were first-time buyers, up from an average of around 40 percent during the last decade.
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes improved slightly in November, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released last week. The HMI rose one notch to 16 from a downwardly revised level of 15 in the previous month.
After gaining ground for two straight months, pending home sales dipped slightly in September, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Nearly half of the metropolitan areas tracked by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed modest increases in single-family home prices compared to last year. NAR’s latest survey showed that 77 of 155 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) had higher median existing home prices in the third quarter of 2010 than the third quarter of 2009. Eleven of those had increases in the double digits.
ServiceMagic.com, a website that connects homeowners to prescreened, customer-rated contractors nationwide, released its annual Home Modeling & Repair Index for the third quarter of 2010. The company used its own data, plus surveys of service providers and consumers, to measure trends in home improvements.
The U.S. homeownership rate is at its lowest level since 1999, said a report by the Wall Street Journal. According to the Census Bureau, 66.9 percent of households owned their homes. In 1999, the rate was 66.7 percent.
American homeowners may not spend significantly on home improvements in the near future, according to report by the Wall Street Journal. Americans tend to spend more on home improvement as home prices rise, since they are likely to see a return on their investments.