Contracts to Buy Homes Reaches 9-Year High!

Pending home sales continued to make gains last month, rising to the highest level since April 2006, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index rose 0.9 percent in May to 112.6 in May. The index is at its highest level since April 2006 when it was 113.7.

“The steady pace of solid job creation seen now for over a year has given the housing market a boost this spring,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “It’s very encouraging to now see a broad based recovery with all four major regions showing solid gains from a year ago and new home sales also coming alive.”

“Housing affordability remains a pressing issue with home-price growth increasing around four times the pace of wages,” says Yun. “Without meaningful gains in new and existing supply, there’s no question the goalpost will move further away for many renters wanting to become home owners.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

New-Home Sales Surge Nearly 19%

After a sluggish start to 2014, new-home sales posted a strong rebound in May. Sales of newly built single-family homes soared to the highest rate since May 2008, jumping 18.6 percent last month, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

“This increase is a welcome sign after a slow start to 2014,” says David Crowe, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders. “As job creation continues, we can expect further release of pent-up demand and continued gradual growth in the housing recovery.”

Across the country, regions posted big gains in new-home sales, with the Northeast leading the pack. Sales of new-homes jumped 54.5 percent in the Northeast, 34 percent in the West, 14.2 percent in the South, and 1.4 percent in the Midwest.

Inventory levels mostly stayed flat, as builders continue to be cautious about overbuilding. The inventory of new homes for sale held steady at 189,000 units in May, representing a 4.5-month supply at the current sales pace.

Source: National Association of Home Builders

Economists Say Recession Is Not Likely

Many home buyers have been sitting on the sidelines due to economic fears and concerns that the U.S. could be heading for a double-dip recession. But a new poll from the Associated Press shows that most economists say a recession is not likely within the next 12 months, yet the economy will continue to be weak into 2012. 

The 43 private, corporate, and academic economists surveyed this month by the Associated Press reported the likelihood of a recession within the next 12 months is 26 percent. They cited high unemployment and weak consumer spending as two leading culprits that will hold back the economy into 2012.

The economists surveyed said they are optimistic that economic growth, job creation, consumer spending, and home prices will all rise over the next year — but the gains are expected to be so slight that many won’t notice, the Associated Press reported. 

Meanwhile, the markets will be anxiously awaiting Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech on Friday at a conference for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City to see if he unveils any new steps to help revive the economy. 

Full atricle at: “AP Survey: Economists Doubt Another Recession Within 12 Months But See Weakness Into 2012,” Associated Press Newswires (Aug. 23, 2011)

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