Monday, January 14, 2013

Today's Numbers: Key Indicators, Home Sales, For-Sale Inventory, Foreclosures and Vacancies

Key economic indicators this week:
  • Tuesday: December retail sales, December producer price index
  • Wednesday: NAHB monthly homebuilders' index, Federal Reserve's latest "beige book"
  • Thursday: December housing starts, weekly jobless claims
  • Friday: consumer sentiment survey

Total U.S. home sales in 2012: 4.2 million

That's a 6.2 percent increase over 2011 and the first year-over-year sales increase since 2005, according to CoreLogic, which released these and other housing-related numbers yesterday. As reported on HousingWire:
"As the housing market pushes deeper into 2013, CoreLogic sees real estate 'poised for further recovery,' despite the uncertainty of how the qualified mortgage rule and other new regulations will impact lending.
"'Rising home prices will continue to slowly release pent-up supply as under-equitied borrowers are unlocked and opportunistic sellers begin to provide relief to tight inventories,' CoreLogic wrote. 'Geographic diversity in home price growth will continue.'"

Percentage drop in the number of U.S. homes for sale, October 2012 versus October 2011: minus-22 percent

"Can I Buy Your House, Pretty Please?" That's the title of a Wall Street Journal article last week about the resurgence of the "boom-era tactic" of hopeful buyers writing letters to sellers about why they should be the next owners.
"In an echo of the last housing boom, ardent pitch letters from eager home buyers are popping up again in hot U.S. real-estate markets like Silicon Valley, Seattle, San Diego, suburban Chicago and Washington, D.C., housing economists and real-estate brokers say."

Percentage of homes in Prince George's County, Md., that are foreclosed: more than 51,000

Known vacancies among these homes? 1,922, though actual vacancies are hard to track. In any case, this D.C. suburb is one of the hardest-hit by the housing bust. From yesterday's Washington Post:
"While Prince George's County escaped the kind of double-digit vacancy rates seen in Nevada and Florida, it had one of the highest percentages of vacant homes of any county in the Washington region....
"Vacant properties impose costs on communities whether they tend to them or not. Neglect, maintenance and demolition all come with a price.... Within weeks [of one owner leaving his foreclosed-upon $420,000 house], residents started noticing teenagers hanging out inside the house. They got in by busting the basement door. Over time, they grew more bold, and the vandalism spilled over to nearby homes."

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