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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.

Monday, June 30, 2008

May, 2008 Real Estate Data

Every month, and we seem to be one of the few who do this, we round up the major supply-demand indexes for the national housing market.

Here are the real estate statistics for May, 2008, no spin, no slant, just the facts, and some historical perspective.

The Quick Summary
Compared to one year ago, inventories remain huge, with little or no help from the demand side. We are now into the territory where 2008 numbers are being compared with the already depressed levels of 2007. The bottom remains in the distance.

Supply Factors

Permits, Starts, and Completions, (PDF): These leading indicators declined by 36.3%, 32.1%, and 26.9% from the already depressed levels of May, 2007.

Money-CNN notes that this is a 17 year low for the construction industry. The Big Picture echoes that, and in the charts, we see that housing starts are now 68% less than the peak in January, 2006.

An array of factors are at work here including, huge inventories, distressed sellers of existing homes, rising foreclosures, higher mortgage rates, and declining property values.

Paper Economy shows us that in the South, the data for new home construction was a little worse than nationally.

New Home Inventories, (PDF): Now sit at a 10.9 months' supply. This is 39.7 % more than the already inflated inventory in May, 2007. We look for builders to stay in cutback mode.

Existing Home Inventories, (PDF): Now stand at a 10.8 months' supply, as compared to a 4.5 months' supply in 2005 and 6.5 months in 2006.

Demand Indexes
New Home Sales, (PDF): More than 40% less than May, 2007, while the average price declined by 5.7% from one year ago.

The Big Picture pulls out a list of added highlights from the data, including a chart showing that the May new home sales have now fallen 63% from the peak of July, 2005.

Calculated Risk gives further perspective, which sadly shows this to be the worst season for new home sales since record keeping began in 1963.

A single bright spot is that the raw number of homes for sale is falling. However, with demand so low, the months' supply remains around double what would be called normal.

Paper Economy shows us that in the South, new home sales were slightly better than national levels.

Existing Home Sales, (PDF): Around 16% less than May, 2007, with both average and median prices falling by approximately 6.5%.

Interest Rate Roundup has a nice analysis in a fairly quick read, including a prognosis.

Paper Economy shows that in the South, sales were slightly worse, but prices were slightly better.

Forecast
Time yet to find a bottom. Prices have not fallen enough in order for demand to begin to lower excessive inventories in all sectors.

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