Much of the recent economic news has been good: housing starts were sharply higher and new home sales rose in November as did existing home sales after revisions. Labor market numbers are also looking better with initial unemployment claims under 400,000 for three weeks in a row. While housing will recover someday, that moment may not be here yet. Bloomberg’s survey of forecasts for next Tuesday’s S&P/Case-Shiller data looks for further declines. As noted by the Calculated Risk blog most of the other home price surveys are also looking at weak numbers for October.
Another sign that a sustained rebound may not be around the corner is seen in foreclosure data. RealtyTrac reports that while foreclosures were down in November from October and from a year-earlier, there are a number of states that continue to see increased foreclosure activity. These include some Nevada, Arizona and California — states that include some of the S&P/Case-Shiller cities seeing the most difficulty. Moreover, based on October figures from RealtyTrac, 12 of the 20 cities in the S&P/Case-Shiller indices saw a larger number of homes in some stage of foreclosure in October than in September, 2011. Across all 20 cities, about 4 out of every 100 homes was in some kind of foreclosure proceeding.
Tuesday’s data will provide some further insights into housing — are prices still falling? will we see a split between the sun belt cities where prices weaken and most of the others or will everything seem to sag together. Equally of interest may be a comparison of condos with single family homes. Recently apartment construction has been very strong and with home ownership drifting lower, renting seem to be enjoying some growth.
Happy Holidays and check back on Tuesday.