Pending home sales for the month of March 2010 increased 5.3% from the previous month to 102.9. The March 2010 is 21.1% higher than March 2009 which was 85.0. The data is provided by the National Realtors Association and is for homes under contract – not closed.
Definitely the increase is in part to the end of the buyer tax credit (must be under contract by April 30, 2010 and closed by end of June 2010). According to Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist, “Clearly the home buyer tax credit has helped stabilized the market. In the months immediately following the expiration of the tax credit, we expect measurably lower sales. 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 ome values stablizing.”
From my persepective – yes – we will probably see a slow down in under contracts and sales after April 30th but many Atlanta buyers are out there. They want to buy even if they didn’t get the tax credit. Home prices seem to be stabilizing in areas (still early but the numbers are showing some improvements), and loans are becoming readily available in the jumbo market (loans over $417,000) as banks’ begin to show healthy balance sheets. Buyers want great deals and sellers are understanding this and working to price their homes right for the current market. I am talking to buyers who still want to buy!
In Metro Atlanta – we are starting to see a slight reduction in the unemployment rate which is a lagging indicator of the economy. The unemployment rate will follow other improvements in the economy – such as the increase in the pending sales numbers. The good news is that March 2010 the unemployment rate dropped for the Metro Altanta area.
Forbes rated the top States for Business and Georgia ranked #6. Despite the economic woes we are feeling – this is great news and will hopefully lead to more businesses finding their way to our state. And certainly some positive news for Georgia.
Forbes used several different sources and based their rankings on 6 different categories. The Forbes article is here and has the details on the category rankings and the sources used to gather the information.
Top Economists Say Recovery Has Begun
Economic recovery is about making people feel more confident, says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Economy.com.
Zandi evidenced increasing home sales and gains in the stock market are some promising signs that the worst is over and people will start spending again.
“We’re starting to see some pent-up demand for goods,” he says.
But Zandi warns that the situation is still fragile. “Confidence is a very fickle thing. It can go from abject pessimism that pervades now to a more balanced view of the world rather quickly.”
Robert Brusca of FAO Economics is predicting strong growth in the last half of the year and a quick recovery for the labor market. “You’ve lost 5 million jobs. It shouldn’t be hard to put 2.5 million jobs back on rather quickly after you hit bottom,” he said.
Joseph Carson, chief economist at AllianceBernstein, calls improving home sales, a rising stock market, and better-than-expected retail sales in February and March good signs of a turnaround. By the time President Obama’s stimulus package takes effect, the economy will be ready, he says.
“The stimulus has a much better chance of working if trends are already turning up than if it needs to halt a decline,” he said.
Source: CNNMoney, Chris Isidore (04/06/2009)