NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Apparently, not all is lost for the housing market.
"The housing market may also be poised to shake off the frigid sales pace of January and February, when new home sales slipped to the lowest pace since the Census Bureau began the series in 1963. Driven by low mortgage rates and home prices well below peaks, homebuyer affordability is at the highest level in at least forty years, according to the National Association of Realtors. Indeed, sales contract signings for existing homes were up in February, positioning the market for a bounce up in settlements during the second quarter, the traditional time for the seasonal upswing in sales."
Nothaft’s optimistic about real estate, despite the fact that so few other economists are willing to peg the “rebound” stake into the ground when it comes to housing. It's mostly because Nothaft likes what he sees in the U.S. job market. He cites a “stronger than expected” March unemployment number (it was 8.8% and the economy added 216,000 jobs, according to the Department of Labor). And housing prices have dropped so low in the last three years that taken together, Nothaft believes these factors could create the perfect recipe for a spring rebound, especially as (hopefully) eager house-hunters start hitting those Sunday open houses across the country in coming weeks.
Other new data helps set the stage for a housing market rebound too. Nothaft points out there was a bounce in “closed” home sales in February, and notes that this might spur a spring pick-up in housing.
“Expect to see a bit of spring in home sales activity during the second quarter,” he says. “Sales contract signings for existing homes were up in February, positioning the market for a bounce up going into the traditional home-buying season.”