Asheville Mountain Real Estate Blog

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Location: Mars Hill, NC, United States

A small, highly personalized real estate firm specializing in mountain homes and land in greater Asheville.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

April 2008 Housing Statistics

Every month, we round up the pertinent supply-demand numbers here...

The Quick Summary
The same story of very high inventories and very low demand, with prices not falling at appropriate rates.

Supply Factors
Permits, Starts, Completions, (PDF): These indexes declined 34.3%, 30.6%, and 34.9% respectively from the already depressed levels of April, 2007. Paper Economy notes that single family permits:
...the most leading of indicators, again suggests extensive weakness in future construction activity dropping 40.07% nationally as compared to April 2007. Moreover, every region showed significant double digit declines to permits with the West declining 50.19%, the Midwest declining 34.13%, the South declining 38.24%, and the Northeast declining 32.58%. (Emphasis added).
Go here, for an interesting look at how the permits and starts data was reported in the media.

New Home Inventories, (PDF): A 10.6 months' supply of new homes. This is 43% more than one year ago, and 68% more than April, 2006. Those low permit numbers will have to persist, combined with lower prices to work this inventory back to normalcy.

Existing Home Inventories, (PDF): An 11.2 months' supply. It was a 10 months' supply at the end of March, 2008. The current inventory of existing homes for sale is 72% higher than 2006, and 149% greater than 2005. This was a big jump, and the subject of tons of commentary.

Interest Rate Roundup, called it a "surge", Business Week, "eye popping", and Paper Economy, "stunning".

Demand Indexes
New Home Sales, (PDF): A disappointing 42% less than April, 2007. Like some of the inventory numbers, this was greeted with an array of exclamations, such as cliff diving, and startling. New home sales are now 62% less than the peak of 2005.

March and April are normally two of the largest months of the year for new home sales nationally. The median sales price was $246,100.

In the South, new home sales were down 41.7% from April, 2007.

Existing Home Sales, (PDF): Sales units were down 18% from a year ago while prices were down roughly 8% from April, 2007, the second largest historical decline.

In the South, existing home sales were down 18.1%, and median prices by 5.1%.

Forecast
No need to be on one's toes to pick the bottom, even the approach to a bottom will take several months to play out.

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