Is The Housing Market Really Improving?

Dane Ferrell March 21, 2013
They claim it is, but what is going on is investors are buying homes, and renting them out, and sitting on them waiting for the prices to go up again, ordinary people are not buying homes. 18

Terry Welch Dane Ferrell21 March 22, 2013
Correct. Also Banks are simply tearing down homes they have had for two years and giving the land to the county/city. In Big vacancies as many as 2000 homes or 15 blocks of homes are demolished. Detroit, Cincinnati, Dallas, ET. This is real common. Banks are not hurting. 0

Melanie Haage March 21, 2013
here in California`s central valley the depth of the crisis was so great that it will take a lot more than this to heal the wounds.... 40% of sales are foreclosures and banks still hold all the cards with regards to loans. Unemployment is close to 10% and sequester is going to make things much, much worse. Pessimistic? You bet. 11

John Reay Melanie Haage March 21, 2013
The central valley region has always been depressed. It`s predominantly agricultural and depends heavily on migrant farm workers, a prime example of the very rich and the dirt poor, and not much in between. Hopefully the region will recover as the rest of CA comes back online. Keep the faith Melanie. 8 1

D Boone Melanie Haage March 21, 2013
Realistic. 1

Sergio Martinez Melanie Haage21 March 22, 2013
I work for an architectural firm in the central valley and both the economy and the housing market have been improving quite a bit. The office I work for may be find itself debating the need of hiring people as we will be soon having more work than we can handle. By the way, the office currently staffs 15+ employees. Central valley it`s recovering, it will take longer due to the reasons mentioned above but it will soon be back to where it was in early 2000s, booming and growing. 0

John Reay Melanie Haage March 21, 2013
I can tell you Melanie that El Dorado County is hot again and Amador County is not far behind. 0

jm walsh Melanie Haage March 21, 2013
Sacramento is doing pretty good. 0

Listener Natapublirad March 21, 2013
avoid the trend statements ( -ing, -er) . those assessments serve the short term investor ( 2-7 months) - but have almost no value to "home owner-occupiers" For general news and discussion there needs to be a more functional way to talk about the market so I can compare it from month to month or year to year by the same measure. Delta/change measurements don`t provide the firm footing I need to understand that market in simple terms. Maybe we need to go to some raw statistics. Every 5th day of month report the following for the previous month only.... . How many single family home/units in the country ? - Just the raw #, to include condo`s, townhomes, single homes on lots that the individual owns/occupies) - include the one that completed construction in the month prior to the month being reported on. How many new homes completed construction ? raw number for last 30-days. How many owner occupied homes are for sale? & how many sold? just the raw number How many investor owned homes are for sale ? & how many sold? just the raw number What price range sold best? ( bottom 1/3, middle 1/3, top 1/3 ) 10

A.F. Kaplan March 21, 2013
Prices may be lower and interest rates may be lower, but considering how many people are out of work and cannot find work, and therefore do not have the money to buy a home, there are VERY FEW people who are able to take advantage of this so-called "buyers` market". Even if you are employed, you still need in most instances to get a loan from a bank, and the banks are scrutinizing potential buyers` credit histories almost as stringently as the CIA does criminal background checks for its job candidates. If they see ANYTHING that they don`t like, you either will not get the loan or you will not get a very favorable interest rate even if the loan is granted. So, I guess my answer is the market is better for the 1% who can afford buying a home and have spotless or near-spotless credit ratings. 8

Capt. Commie Obamnik A.F. Kaplan March 21, 2013
"Prices may be lower and interest rates may be lower, but considering how many people are out of work and cannot find work, and therefore do not have the money to buy a home..." Yes. And not just for the jobless. As long as employers continue to hold hiring down by shortstaffing & cutting hours (i.e. underemployment) and wages continue to stagnate or decline (and the days of fast & easy credit are gone), then prices will have to continue to drop in order to meet what consumers with weakened earnings are willing to pay. According to the "free marketeers," anyway. Unless something else (manipulation?) is holding prices artificially high... And there`s also the issue of stability. Owning a home requires a high degree of income stability. A prudent person is not going to buy a home if they do not perceive that their income will remain stable enough to support the payments. 7

Katy Labrador Capt. Commie Obamnik March 21, 2013
Oughta tax them into hiring more people. 2

Capt. Commie Obamnik Katy Labrador March 21, 2013
Rather than hoarding piles of cash or stock buybacks? Absolutely. 1

kay pett March 21, 2013
Why are people who take a realistic approach to the facts, always called "pessimists"? I personally get sick of a bunch of Pollyannas going "wee, wee, wee" all the way home when their optimism leads to big disappointment. I face facts, deal with them, then prepare for the worst. I`m so often pleasantly surprised while optimists are often let down. As far as this article, as a pessimist to begin with I agree with the realistic approach - the latter, pigeonholed as a pessimistic approach - but what I really see out of it is another bubble brewing as silly panicking homebuyers rush to buy now because the market has been declared to be bottomed out. What the he ll is wrong with people???? I live in an area that never saw the boom and never saw the bust. I own my home outright and it`s the first home I ever bought - have a second home. Buying a home here is not big deal. This housing market thing is really a spectacle to me. 12 2

Capt. Commie Obamnik kay pett March 21, 2013
Agreed. And I hope the "bubble" isn`t their yardstick for "recovery?" It was a "bubble." It popped because those conditions were unsustainable. I invoke Einstein`s definition of insanity... 6

John Reay March 21, 2013
"Congress (Republicans) has just imposed sharp federal spending cuts, which could depress economic growth and drive unemployment back up, reducing the number of people who could buy homes." Republicans are doing everything in their power to torpedo any economic recovery and sequester is a big step forward for their cause. 11 2

jm walsh March 21, 2013
Location location 5

Hector Pranis March 21, 2013
John Boehnor and Mitch McConnell will do their best to make the recovering housing market go back into recession. 7 1

Mick Mcd March 21, 2013
Saying that housing prices are below their peak is factual - using the word "depressed" has connotations that are not really accurate. Following that logic, the NASDAQ is at a depressed level because it is well below its high from 2000. 4

John Reay Mick Mcd March 21, 2013
But putting the "depressed" spin on the conversation favors Republican doom/gloom agenda. 5

jim brown March 21, 2013
Buy another house? Are you kidding? I still don`t have a job and the Section 8 home we are in now is nicer than the one that we had forclosed and evicted from 2 miles away. Obama`s right, the other 53% can take cares of me. Keep it up, 3

boulder dude March 21, 2013
The housing market has been improving for at least a year. 5 2

Adam Allen boulder dude March 21, 2013
NPR has been eager to see a recovery since the crisis began. They are constantly reminding us that housing could recover any minute now. Here`s one from 4 years ago. 3 1

John Reay Adam Allen March 21, 2013
Republicans have consistently denied any recovery is underway despite irrefutable indications to the contrary. They have also done everything in their power, including sequester, to crush economic recovery. I recommend they get out of the way or get run over. 7

Adam Allen John Reay21 March 22, 2013
Take enough stimulus and you will get "signs of recovery." The question is what the economy would look like without all the "emergency measures" that have been keeping the economy going for the last 4 years. I can`t speak for Republicans, but I am not yet convinced of a sustained recovery of housing prices to their pre-crash levels. 1

boulder dude Adam Allen March 21, 2013
As are the Fed and the CBO, they have all been overly bullish. As for me, it has been a personally observation of the metro Denver market and how fast my condo sold last year, how hard it was to find a house to move into while the condo was under contract, and how selling my moms house as the Personal Representative for her estate and that it went under contract the day it went on the market for $40k over what I would have thought it would have. 0 2

bernese mountaindog boulder dude21 March 22, 2013
you probably could have gotten more. 0

Ned D March 21, 2013
Yes, it is improving in some places. But in a lot of places it`s not. 2

Josh Beckwith March 21, 2013
Having no crystal ball, I can`t say whether or not the housing market recovery is sustainable. However I find it interesting that America on a whole is getting its act together, regardless of the ineffective lunacy in Washington. Link: Link to how economy has responded to billions in tax payer/borrowed stimulus money: 2

John Reay March 21, 2013
"How extensive the job losses will be is subject to debate. Last month, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 750,000 jobs would be cut by the end of 2013 because of the sequester. Private economists who spoke to Reuters estimated the job losses at about 300,000, with consumer spending taking a hit from furloughed workers making less money." The Republican agenda moves forward! 3 1

Ben Tornilloed March 21, 2013
The cost of lumber has doubled in the past year. Plant closings AND increased demand are responsible. 3 1

robert bristow-johnson March 21, 2013
it really depends on where. location, location, location. 4 2

Urbi et Orbi robert bristow-johnson March 21, 2013
Yes. Location as well as supply. In the Boston area, undeveloped land within the outer 495 beltway is limited. We didn`t have a big housing bubble because of that and as a result have not suffered as much. I bought a smaller condo within one of the blue chip downtown neighborhoods and it has held its value pretty well throughout the recession. 1

robert bristow-johnson Urbi et Orbi20 March 22, 2013
how `bout further inside than I-495? so i have a question for you: what might a condo, 1 bath, 2.5 BR, 1100 sq ft, 1970s building, recently remodeled be worth in Waltham? just inside of the I-95 beltline. adjacent to a 200 acre park with the 2nd-highest peak in the Boston area, rails-to-trails bikepath (i have literally skied from my front door to the Prospect Hill peak). not close to any subway line, but close to the bus (and i don`t remember the number). 0

D Boone March 21, 2013
In my area, there are still 3-4 pages of foreclosures EVERY day. What does THAT tell you? 2 1

C M18 March 22, 2013
With firms like Blackstone buying hundreds of homes up at once in my city, making the housing inventory dry up almost overnight, I say bubble, not recovery. Recovery doesn`t involve mega investors in the residential housing market. That is more a recipe for trouble than recovery. 1

g n March 21, 2013
- It is not true that homebuilders are adding workers at a pace of 30,000/ month. That number is a seasonally adjusted estimate (i.e. the product of an estimate and a statistical factor). -Real estate brokers, builders, analysts and other related pundits have been predicting a "housing recovery" EVERY MONTH for the past 5 years. For a sample, google "Lawrence Yun." - The home sales number, which represents volume and NOT price, maybe "the highest in the past 3 years" but is still below where it was for most of the 1970s. - Historically, the sector leading the market down is never the one to lead it back. - Real estate cycles are measured in decades. ...maybe this time is different? 1

Mike Boxell March 21, 2013
Real estate is a big game controlled by real estate clubs. The prices that fell were controlled by the clubs, there was no reason for the prices in the past to become half price. The selling price should have remained firm and if a property sells it sells and if it takes longer it does. There was no reason to screw over the American public with lower prices below what they paid just to have a crisis moment and make a headline, it was all man-made to begin with. Proof is that fact that the inflated prices in some ares of the country are still expensive for the same size of house. I think a lot of people are tired of the game. Message to real estate clubs, don`t lower the prices when sales slow down. No law says you have to. 1

John Reay Mike Boxell March 21, 2013
Where do you dig this stuff up? 2

robert bristow-johnson John Reay20 March 22, 2013
he doesn`t mine it. he spins it from straw. 2

R Lewis18 March 22, 2013
The Optimists` Case The Federal Reserve plans to hold interest rates at historically low levels for a long time, making homes more affordable. This should be under the pesimists case. The low rates are what caused the first bubble! The government is determined to create another bubble because printing money and causing inflation is the only thing the all powerful bankers who run the Fed know how to do. For real estate bubble 2.0 Americans are not even playing their game, just private investors. Good. Americans should not participate in these grand inflation schemes because bankers are abusing the power appointed by the government to take the wealth of the nation. If you take a loan to buy a house you are just giving the private banking cartel that much value. They create this new money and now either will own the house or collect from you for 30 years, all for doing absolutely nothing but being granted the right to control our currency. 0

Adam Smith March 21, 2013
Homes won`t improve until the economy improves. Normally housing and jobs tend to improve together. There are more homes being sold where I live and elsewhere throughout the country; however, the strength of the market is still very weak (as is the job market). We need a better economy. We need to bring back production to the US. Too many jobs left that should have never gone. Most of them won`t come back. Unlike the UK in the early 1900s, the US needs to try and keep its manufacturing jobs and not jump headlong into the economic fallacy of becoming a mostly "service economy". An economy that is a true "service economy" is one where everybody is an expendable servant and is a single mistake away from being laid off and joining the ranks of the permanently un/under-employed. 0

Urbi et Orbi Adam Smith21 March 22, 2013
Unfortunately there is another wave of job displacement that will soon be hitting the world. This second wave is largely driven by advances in technology. Robotics has now advanced to the point that they are selling robots now as cheaply as $20,000. dollars. These robots are easily programmable, can be programmed to do multiple tasks, not just one like previous robots, and can work around the clock replacing three workers. Their projected lifespan is 3 years. Do the math. Very soon many cheap Chinese factory workers will be displaced. And soon it will not just be just factory assembly workers. There are robots being tested now that are sophisticated enough to perform delicate surgery procedures with more precision than human surgeons. 1

Gene K March 21, 2013
The crash of the housing bubble created a panic mode that caused housing prices to fall from way above their reasonable value to below it. IOW, a "reverse bubble" of artificially depressed prices. As the economy slowly creeps back, the prices will slowly rise to their real fair market value, stabilize and then rise more or less in sync with inflation. They will be higher than they are now, but of course nowhere remotely near what they were at the height of the bubble. My best guess is, take housing prices from sometime around 1995-96 (just before the start of the dotcom) and plug them into an inflation calculator. 0

Craig Hill March 21, 2013
− In 2010 and 2011 I began to see an increase in restaurant and retail activity. 2012 and now 2013 seem especially active. Last spring and summer was the first time since around 2009 I began to see an increase in not only home building but commercial as well. Perhaps trickle down theory in practice? Then of course there were the category of adult children that moved in with their parents after the economic crash of 2008. Seems there is a time limit on those families being able to live under their parent`s roof and couldn`t handle that scenario anymore and opted to either rent an apartment or buy a home. Of course we all know what they say about real estate: location, location, location. Some communities may have a more difficult struggle no matter what the reality elsewhere. There are just some places that aren`t desirable to many people.

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