National Housing Market Up or Down in September?

Media can make the case both ways based on National Association of Realtors® statistics for September 2013

Nationally, single-family home sales slipped 1.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million in September from 4.75 million in August, but are 10.9% above the 4.22 million-unit pace in September 2012, according to National Association of Realtors® data released today. So, depending on your journalists’ take, the market is up or down. I prefer the year-to-year analysis in all my reports since there is typical monthly variation. Sales have remained above year-ago levels for the past 27 months.  So, I’m seeing the real estate market as on a steady, positive incline. Perhaps not as much as it could be if we had a healthier economy, but up nonetheless.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said a decline (from August) was expected. “Affordability has fallen to a five-year low as home price increases easily outpaced income growth,” he said. “Expected rising mortgage interest rates will further lower affordability in upcoming months. Next month we may see some delays associated with the government shutdown.” Actually, I think the delays are mostly over, except for potential short back logs on VA and USDA underwriting of loans. What we will experience is fewer home sales because consumers are not confident enough in the American economy to buy a Christmas present, much less a home. Hopefully, this will pass with political change in 2014.

September’s Flagstaff home sales market showed healthy, but not spectacular, gains from one year ago, as I wrote earlier this month.

National Association of Realtors® says “Prices Rise.”


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