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Market News and Trends

March 2010 Surge in Home Sales


This article from the National Association of Realtors® appeared this morning in RISMedia, echoing data that has also been reported elsewhere in recent weeks:

Pending Home Sales on an Upswing

Of course this is good news!  In addition to an increase in March in the number of homes sold and closed, the number of pending contracts is up, which should bode well for April and May closings. However, I’m not sure that I am ready to endorse the thesis at the beginning of the article: “Pending home sales increased again in March 2010, affirming that a surge of home sales is unfolding for the spring home buying season ….”

The RISMedia piece acknowledges the role that homebuyer tax credits may have played in helping March sales and contracts. NAR’s chief economist offered what I believe is a realistic forecast: “Clearly the home buyer tax credit has helped stabilize the market. In the months immediately following the expiration of the tax credit, we expect measurably lower sales,” he said. “Later in the second half of the year, and into 2011, home sales will likely become self-sustaining if the economy can add jobs at a respectable pace, and from a return of buyer demand as they see home values stabilizing.”

What we don’t know is how much of this surge signals real growth and the beginning of a return to more “normal” market conditions, and how much of what would have been April, May, and June contracts have already happened. Probably, it’s some of both.

In the Austin/Central Texas area, the change in home sales from February to March 2010 was 56.7% — almost twice the average change for the same time in each of the previous ten years. In a typical year we would expect steady growth in unit sales in April, May, and June as well.  Time will tell ….

If the first five days of May are any indication, I will be busy over the next few months, but the Central Texas market has remained stronger than many areas throughout this downturn. Obviously, we’re all going through real estate market conditions that most of us haven’t experienced before, with the possible exception of 1989-1990.  I want to believe that we’re emerging into more typical conditions, and I hope there are no more tax incentives to distort the market and to cause this uncertainty to continue.

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About Bill Morris, Realtor

More than thirty years of business experience (high tech, client service, business organization and start-up, including many years in real estate) tell me that service is the key to success and I look forward to serving you. I represent both buyers and sellers throughout the Austin metropolitan area, which means first-hand market knowledge is brought to bear on serving your needs: -- Seller Representation is a comprehensive process that begins with thorough market analysis and consultation, continues with properly staging the home to achieve the highest price possible in a reasonable time on market, a complete program of marketing and promotion, ongoing updates and communication, closing coordination, and follow-up throughout (and after) the sale. -- Buyer Representation is also full service: shopping, previewing, price and market consultation, contracting, negotiating, coordination of inspections, appraisals, repairs, and closing details, and follow-up beyond the closing of your purchase to ensure your lasting satisfaction. Because the real estate industry is becoming more sophisticated and challenging every day, you need a professional that understands the industry and is positioned to stay ahead of the game. I go the extra mile to help you achieve your goals. That's why I constantly research the market and property values so your home is priced effectively from day one. I also make sure the public knows your home is for sale by using innovative advertising and marketing techniques to attract potential buyers.

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