The National Association of Realtors (NAR) predicted the housing market would improve by the end of 2010. In September 2010, Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said that he expected the housing recovery to be “slow and gradual because of lingering economic uncertainty.”
The 2010 housing market has been characterized by lower sales volume than a year ago. However, the median price increased 0.08 percent in August from a year ago. The number of homes sold nationally in August increased 7.6 percent from July, 19 percent below the August 2009 level.
August closings reflect sales made in April when the homebuyer tax credit was still available. We could see lower sales volume and median sale prices moving forward. This will vary from one area to the next.
Real estate is a localized business. In California, home sales for 2010 are predicted to rise 2 percent from the 2009 level. The median sale price is expected to increase 11.5 percent from a year ago to $306,500 and another 2 percent in 2011, according to the California Association of Realtors. The state’s median sale price was $522,700 in 2005.
Research by First American CoreLogic indicates that 24 percent, or more than 11.3 million homeowners, have negative equity. Negative equity occurs when the unpaid mortgage balance exceeds the market value of the property. According to CoreLogic, homeowners with negative equity are unlikely to reach positive equity until 2015 or early 2016.
Foreclosures are one of the factors putting brakes on a housing market recovery. According to NAR, distressed sales accounted for 34 percent of homes sold in August, up from 32 percent in July and 31 percent in August 2009. Foreclosures will continue to impact the housing market in 2011.