This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Will Housing Recovery End Up a 'Failed Sale'?

NEW YORK ( BankingMyWay) -- One more data point showing that the housing recovery is gaining steam: Re/Max reports that U.S. home sales rose 10.3% from July 2011 to July 2012, with home prices up 3.7% over the same period.

"It's reassuring that both sales and prices continue to rise higher on a yearly basis, indicating that this housing recovery is real," notes Margaret Kelly, CEO of Re/Max. "Overall, the picture is getting brighter each month, but what we need for a sustainable recovery is a turnaround in unemployment and better availability of mortgages, especially for higher-priced homes."

So far, so good in 2012. It's not just the unemployment rate or luxury home mortgages, as the Re/Max CEO says, that could help the housing rebound continue its momentum. One under-reported fly in the ointment is the fact that the housing recovery would be greater but for one downbeat issue: Too many home sales fall through at the last minute.

The analytical firm Capital Economics placed a spotlight on the issue and found that 15% of all contracted homes sales fall through for various reasons at the last minute.

In a research note from economist Paul Diggle, Capital Economics says pending home sales were up 6.9% from December through July, yet actual home closing were only up 2.1%.

Some of the reason for the gap in closings compared with the pending sales number are just statistical noise. But Diggle does say the "failed sales" rate has spiked upward.

"We suspect that the bulk of the divergence reflects the fact that cancellation rates have increased," Diggle says. "And this divergence creates problems in a market that is struggling to recover."

Typically, the most common reasons home sales wither on the vine are lower-than-expected home appraisals, failed or troublesome home inspections, bank financing and home title issues.

While he doesn't say why failed sales in the current market are any different from failed sales in real estate markets five, 10 or 20 years ago, Diggle does say it is relatively easy for homebuyers to pull out of a deal these days because they can withdrawal at a "relatively low cost."

It could be simply a matter of a new homebuyer having cold feet finding a low appraisal or poor home inspection enough to sour the deal.

But even so, there is little doubt the U.S. housing market could be more vibrant if agents and homeowners weren't blindsided by so many canceled home sales.

More on real estate:

Buying a vacation home

Buying a second home? Not so fast

Research mortgage rates

--By Brian O'Connell

Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.64 -0.11%
FB $118.57 0.84%
GOOG $698.21 0.75%
TSLA $241.80 0.43%
YHOO $36.53 -0.19%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,891.16 +117.52 0.66%
S&P 500 2,081.43 +16.13 0.78%
NASDAQ 4,817.5940 +42.2360 0.88%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs