A Housing Rebound Starting? Just The Facts

Topic Summary: No matter what the industry, there are economists who cover it that can never agree on the meaning behind the "numbers". Recently there have been some promising data suggesting a rebound in the housing market and the various areas that impact the housing market such as unemployment.

Foundation Facts for a Rebound in Housing

Foreclosures:  RealtyTrac? (www.realtytrac.com), the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, released its Year-End 2011 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report?, which shows a total of 2,698,967 foreclosure filings 2011, a decrease of 34 percent in total properties from 2010. Foreclosure activity in 2011 was 33 percent below the 2009 total and 19 percent below the 2008 total.

Nationwide, starts of new single family homes were up 4.4% in December. According to the U.S. Commerce Dept. this is the third monthly increase in a row.

Homebuilders are slightly more hopeful because more people are saying they might be open to buying in 2012.

The latest monthly data show  total existing-home sales  rose 5.0 percent. (3rd month in a row of increases) Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said these are early signs of what may be a sustained recovery. "The pattern of home sales in recent months demonstrates a market in recovery," he said. "Record low mortgage interest rates, job growth and bargain home prices are giving more consumers the confidence they need to enter the market."

 The total housing inventory fell 9.2% to 2.38 million existing homes for sale. At the current sales pace that represents a 6.2-month housing supply - the lowest level of inventory logged in nearly seven years and lower than the seven-to-eight month inventory levels indicate steady home prices.

 Home Value depreciation seems to be near the bottom. In many areas home prices are moving up, reflecting improved consumer sentiment that home ownership is still a cherished asset. See the recent SURVEY on American's View of Homeownership from the National Association of HomeBuilders

On the financing front, home mortgage rates are at their lowest levels in decades.

When it comes to public policy and the government aiding the housing market, look for some new programs to be promoted helping underwater homeowners and those with marginal credit histories.