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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, March 09, 2009

January, 2009 Real Estate Statistics

Ok, a few days late this month, but here we go with the national numbers.

The Quick Summary
Large year to year declines in prices and new housing starts, yet inventories have again climbed in terms of months of supply. For a long time, the story might have been framed as excess inventory. At the risk of making an understatement, it is by now a lack of demand.

Supply Indicators
New Homes Permits, Starts, and Completions, (PDF): Declined from one year ago by 50.5%, 56.2%, and 41.7% respectively.

Single family starts, the most leading of indicators set a new low for the third straight month. This sector is now down 80% from the peak in January, 2005, and is at its lowest level since 1959.

Existing Homes Inventory: This segment represents 85%-90% of the market and in January the number of homes for sale rose to 9.6 months of supply. Six months of supply would be a nice place to get back to.

Demand Indicators
New Home Sales, (PDF): declined by 48.2% from one year ago to an annual rate of 309,000.

This is a record low dating back to 1963, the dawn of data, despite a record drop in prices. It is a 78% decline from the peak in 2005 and continues the familiar pattern of a decline in the raw number of homes for sale, but with demand falling at faster rates.

Existing Home Sales: Fell by 8.6% from one year ago, with a 14.8% decline in prices. It should be noted that 45% of these are distressed sales, thus artificially lowering prices and putting the "real" number of sales at less than 3 million units.

Summary and Outlook
If there is a forward looking indicator that suggested a buy signal, we have not found it. Oversupply looks to be pandemic across the whole economy, not just for housing.

The Wall Street Journal, in its Real Time Economics Section reaches a consensus of continued downside in the market. For a time now, foreclosures, as 45% of sales, have inflated the number of existing home sales, and falsely lowered prices in that segment. Individual sellers have been harmed in their ability to compete in this respect, as have builders of new homes.

The mortgage delinquency rate in Q4 2008 points to further issues with foreclosures, with a record 54 million homeowners in some stage of trouble. This has often been called a shadow inventory waiting to exert its influence.

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Black Bear Realty Website
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Filed Under: Real Estate Statistics and Data

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