Real estate activity may not echo U.S. results month-by-month, but since national media reports impact how individual buyers and sellers gauge their own prospects, they are worth keeping an eye on. To date, this fall’s U.S. real estate picture can’t be summarized in a single word or phrase, but so far, what has leaked through from the national press has left a slightly negative impression.
Housingwire.com’s takeaway was typical. Last Monday’s “Homebuilders growing very concerned about affordability.” Likewise for CNBC’s Tuesday contribution. “Home prices in August hinted at possible cooling in the market.” ‘Possible’ ‘hints’ may not be strong language, but the direction they point to is clear. Given the actual activity registered in recent weeks, that takeaway is hardly warranted. It may be a mixed picture—but it is one that’s at least as encouraging as not.
•Condominium and co-op sales rose 1.4% from August despite a median price increase of 9.3%.
•The percentage of first-time buyers dipped by 1% (from 29% in August) despite the expectation that they would grow.
The inventory picture is both good (for sellers) and bad (for buyers)—but although on the rise, the still historically low home loan interest rates continued to cushion the impact of price rises.