Monday, September 20, 2010

Realty reality

Guambat wonders, as he waddles about, whether the housing glass is half empty or empty.

Home Sales in U.S. Probably Rose in Sign Real Estate Market Is Stabilizing
Purchases of new and previously owned homes rose 7 percent to a combined 4.395 million annual pace, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.

The 7.1 percent gain would follow the record 27 percent plunge in July.

“Housing is in a fragile bottoming process,” said Aaron Smith, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The projected gains in home sales and durable goods are “consistent with stabilizing growth, albeit at a slower” pace than earlier this year, he said.

U.S. Home Seizures Reach Record for Third Time in Five Months
Bank repossessions climbed 25 percent from a year earlier to 95,364, the most since the Irvine, California-based data provider began keeping records in 2005.

“We’re on track for a record year for homes in foreclosure and repossessions,” Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac’s senior vice president, said in a telephone interview. “There is no improvement in the underlying economic conditions.”

Foreclosures are contributing to a growing housing supply that may add as many as 12 million homes to the U.S. market.

U.S. Home Prices Face 3-Year Drop as Inventory Surge Looms
The slide in U.S. home prices may have another three years to go as sellers add as many as 12 million more properties to the market.

Shadow inventory -- the supply of homes in default or foreclosure that may be offered for sale -- is preventing prices from bottoming after a 28 percent plunge from 2006, according to analysts from Moody’s Analytics Inc., Fannie Mae, Morgan Stanley and Barclays Plc. Those properties are in addition to houses that are vacant or that may soon be put on the market by owners.

“Whether it’s the sidelined, shadow or current inventory, the issue is there’s more supply than demand,” said Oliver Chang, a U.S. housing strategist with Morgan Stanley in San Francisco. “Once you reach a bottom, it will take three or four years for prices to begin to rise 1 or 2 percent a year.”

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