Negative housing headlines should be read with calm or skepticism, not alarm. National housing trends, like the steady rise in home prices and decline in inventory, should certainly be observed with care, but tracking wider economic conditions is also necessary. Buyers want to get into the market, but unlike the rising-price sales environment of ten years ago, people are not diving headlong into risky mortgages or uncomfortable situations. This carefulness should be celebrated, not feared.
New Listings were down 16.7 percent for single family homes and 7.2 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop properties. Pending Sales decreased 16.4 percent for single family homes and 22.0 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop properties.
The Median Sales Price was up 8.4 percent to $1,355,000 for single family homes but remained flat at $1,100,000 for Condo/TIC/Coop properties. Months Supply of Inventory remained flat for single family units but was up 22.2 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop units.
Employment figures are positive, wages are going up and employers are hiring. Consumers are holding for the right deal, even in the face of extremely low mortgage rates. As seller and builder confidence increases, we should see more activity in Q2 2016. The second quarter tends to rank as the best time to list a home for sale. But if inventory stays low, it will be difficult to sustain sales increases in year-over-year comparisons. Prices are seemingly not so high as to stall the market completely. Demand is present but an abundance of choice is not, and therein lies the rub.