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Do You Care About Housing Market Signs?

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Last month, new home sales fell, existing home sales spiked, and I want to know does that really matter to you? They say that new home sales are indicative of the future of the housing market because it’s based on signed contracts for new home delivery sometime in the future, usually a month. Existing home sales are recorded at closing which occurs a month or more after the signing of a contract, so it lags the state of the market. However, both are national measures which we all know aren’t accurate because a quick look at what $300k can buy you in Houston, TX and Howard County, MD will show you that the market in both areas of the country have been moving at different speeds.

I believe the only place national stats matter is when you’re talking mortgage loan rates and the housing market lags mortgage rates. The rates are going up, that’s why housing sales are decreasing, it’s not the other way around. So really, I don’t think national stats matter at all when you’re thinking about selling or buying a home… the local stats matter significantly more.

{ 3 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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3 Responses to “Do You Care About Housing Market Signs?”

  1. Bald Man says:

    The market only matters if you’re in the market. If you don’t plan on moving or investing, let the market do whatever it does. No skin off your nose!

  2. ML says:

    Of course I care, and in many ways:

    1. I’m shorting a home builder. I have also taken defensive positions in the stock market.
    2. I believe the slowing housing market will lead to a slowing of the national economy.
    3. At some point (possibly late 06) the FED will respond by lowering interest rates and flooding the market with liquidity. I want to be positioned in sectors that are recipients of that liquidity.

    There was no discrepancy between the new and existing home sales. If you look beyond the headlines a little and read the actual release from NAR, you’ll see that the existing sales figure was below the year-ago level, although a big bounce from JAN. You’ll also see 5 consecutive months’ decline in prices. At this rate we’ll see YoY price delines in April.

    You have to remember that home equity extraction has been sustaining the consumer for the last 2-3 years. we now know there was no real income growth in that period. The previous commentor should pay more attention to how many jobs created were related to the housing sector. The mortegage lending jobs will go/are going first, while the home builders are furiously trying to finish building and sell whatever they can before having to write it off their books.

    Your readers may not share my reason #1, but they will surely be affected by #2 and 3. Like you said the housing market is local, but the credit market is national. When the dot com bubble bursted in 2000, was there any place in the general stock market to hide?


  3. Finance Reading to Start the Week

    This week’s Carnival of Investing and Carnival of Personal Finance are both up. They each feature links to a broad range of articles to help with your personal finances and here are a few of my favorites:
    Digital Breakfast has the third install…

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