Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Could the Housing Crisis Be Over?

According to forecasters surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, the housing market has reached bottom. Of 44 economists surveyed only three said they didn’t think the market had reached bottom yet.
The recent momentum in housing has many economists and forecasters convinced that the worst is behind us. Many real estate indexes indicate that home prices are up, sales of existing and new homes are picking up year-over-year, and inventories of for-sale homes have fallen dramatically.

Many economists believe that the decrease in for-sale inventory is the key and will likely help maintain the rise in home prices.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the number of vacant homes is at its lowest point since 2006.

Now that the “bottom” has been reached, economists admit there’s still a long way to go for a full recovery.  In particular, more than one in every four home owners with mortgages are still underwater, owing more on their loan than their home is currently worth. However, analysts note that rising home prices are chipping away at that number. Also, shadow inventory of unsold homes and foreclosures still threaten the momentum of the recovery as well.

Many economists note that going forward housing is unlikely to drag the U.S. economy down further and will instead reflect the strength or weakness of the overall economy.  The more jobs, the more confident Americans are about keeping their jobs, the more they are willing to buy houses.