Real Estate Industry Can Use Some Good News

May 23, 2012

A lot of positive news has emerged this week for the housing industry both locally and nationally.

Some of the highlights:

*No Chicago real estate was harmed during the NATO Summit. Check back tomorrow for more on that story.

*The Illinois Association of Realtors reported that Chicago and Chicago-area home sales were each up more than 19 percent in April 2012 over April 2011. Click here for that story.

*New-home sales rose more in the Midwest region last month than any other part of the country. Read on for that story.

smiling and waving houseAccording to newly released numbers from the Commerce Department, sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 3.3 percent nationally in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 343,000.

That’s a bigger increase than experts had predicted for the month and 9.9 percent higher than sales during April of last year.

Regionally, new-home sales surged 28.2 percent in the Midwest; 27.5 percent in the West and 7.7 percent in the Northeast. The South posted a 10.6 percent decline for the month.

“The increase in April sales activity is in line with other important housing measures that have shown continued, gradual improvement from the first quarter as more consumers look to take advantage of today’s low interest rates and affordable home prices,” said National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chairman Barry Rutenberg.

“In markets where demand is rising, we could be seeing a faster pace of recovery if not for persistently tight lending conditions that are slowing both the building and buying of new homes.”

There’s good news when it comes to demand as well. According to the Commerce Department, the number of new homes listed for sale at the end of April was 146,000, which is a historically slim 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace.

The low supply could lead to a demand for new single-family homes in the near future, which would contribute to job creation and economic recovery for the housing industry, which considers a healthy amount of new-home sales at just under 700,000 for the year. Last year’s level of 306,000 sales was the lowest in history.

“Today’s report is representative of the kind of modest but consistent gains that we expect to see in new-home sales through the remainder of 2012,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

“As indicated by our most recent builder surveys, more consumers are taking advantage of historically low mortgage rates amidst firming economic and job market conditions in certain areas.”

Categories: Economy, New Homes

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