Taking the Bait

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56 | Th e M Rep o RT o r i g i nat i o n s e r v i c i n g a na ly t i c s s e c o n da r y M a r k e t ANALYTICS the latest local edition nation's Markets continue March to normalcy Study ShowS that the market iS on the right path to SuStainability. Washington D.C // In a na- tionwide analysis of 351 metros, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found 300 have seen year-over-year economic gains. According to the group's Leading Markets Index (LMI), 59 metros have fully returned or even exceeded their last normal levels of both economic and housing activity. Overall, the nationwide eco- nomic score rose slightly to 0.88 from a revised April reading of 0.87. "This means that based on current permit, price, and em- ployment data, the nationwide average is running at 88 percent of normal economic and housing activity. The index showed an overall reading of 0.82 a year ago," the NAHB said. The LMI is calculated by taking the average permit, price, and employment levels for the past 12 months per metro and then dividing each by the annual average over the last period of normal growth. An index above 1 means a market has beat its previous normal level of activity. "We have always said this recovery would be a slow but steady one, and I think this index continues to prove this," said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. "The year started a bit slower than anyone could have anticipated, but we still expect housing to play a greater role in aiding the overall eco- nomic recovery this year. The job market continues to mend, and that should spur a steady re- lease of pent-up demand among homebuyers." Louisiana was home to the metro with the highest LMI: Baton Rouge kept its top posi- tion among major metros with a score of 1.41, or 41 percent better than its last normal market level. Other metros that beat previous market levels include Honolulu, Hawaii; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Austin and Houston, Texas. "Our builder members tell us they are starting to see more optimism in the field," said NAHB chairman Kevin Kelly. "Mortgage rates are low, home prices are affordable, and with the harsh winter behind us, our latest surveys show builders are feeling more bullish about future sales conditions." Keeping with recent trends, gains in the energy sector con- tinue to fuel housing growth. Smaller metros near recent energy production hubs such as Odessa and Midland, Texas, boast LMI scores of 2 or better, doubling previous market levels. Bismarck, North Dakota; Casper, Wyoming; and Grand Forks, North Dakota, also top the list as strong energy sector-fueled markets. Market speeds Up in March Some of the market'S hardeSt-hit areaS continue to See increaSed SaleS. Washington D.C // According to the Fastest Markets Report is- sued by Redfin, homes are "flying off the market" in many places, such as San Francisco, California; Austin, Texas; and Washington, D.C. The report notes that although homes are selling faster, fewer total homes are selling. Inventory has risen in these metros, but prices are holding buyers back. However, the company believes the quickening pace of home sales is actually a positive sign, indicating buyers are still moving quickly on the most sought-after homes. In March, across the 20 metros measured by Redfin, median days on the market fell by more than a week to 32 days, drop- ping from 40 days in February. Compared to last year's figure of 35, homes are selling three days faster on average. The company's analysis found that 29.8 percent of homes went under contract within two weeks of being listed, up from 26.8 percent in February. "Time is of the essence to tour a home and get an offer in quickly, but buyers can use it to their advantage when appealing to the seller," said Redfin agent Sandy Rosen. Overall, San Jose was the fastest-selling market, with the median home staying a mere 10 days on the market before going under contract. Philadelphia crawled in as the slowest mar- ket, with a median of 81 days on the market in March. The top five markets for fastest time to go to contract include San Jose, California (10 days); San Francisco, California (13 days); Austin, Texas (16 days); San Diego, California (19 days); and Washington, D.C. (19 days). The bottom five markets mea- sured by Redfin for the longest time to go to contract include Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (81 days); Miami, Florida (51 days); Baltimore, Maryland (51 days); Boston, Massachusetts (47 days), and Atlanta, Georgia (40 days). Housing optimism climbs as Job Worries ease conSumerS are feeling better about purchaSing now that jobS are coming back. Washington D.C // With concerns about employment easing, Americans are increasingly opti- mistic about the housing market, reports Fannie Mae in its April National Housing Survey—and, ac- cording to the mortgage giant, this climbing optimism may foreshad- ow an upswing in housing activity through the summer months. ANALYTICS

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