Saturday, June 16, 2012


More than six years after the country’s housing market pitched into a deep slide, Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies said a recent increase in home sales, coupled with low ­inventories of available properties and rising rents point to a turnaround in housing prices.

In Nevada County from May 14, 2012 to June 14, 2012 there were 159 single family homes sold with a median price of 230,000 out of 547 actively being offered for sale. If we look at the data from the prior year during the same time period, there were 105 properties sold with a median price of 250,00. So prices are down year over year but we have seen a 50 percent increase in sales volume. The local Realtors, mortgage brokers as well as contractors feel a direct impact and in turn spend more at local stores, thus lifting the local economy.

“There are lots of positive indicators here,’’ said Eric S. Belsky, managing director of the housing center. “A floor is beginning to form under home prices.”

The center’s 2012 report, scheduled to be released today at the Ford Foundation in New York City, contrasts with the forecast it released last year in which Harvard accurately predicted the US housing market would remain sluggish through 2011 as potential buyers remained on the sidelines out of fear prices would continue to fall and the economy still struggled.Another possible boost to home sales, Belsky said, is the rising cost to rent.

Nationwide, the typical renter paid an estimated $881 a month to rent an apartment in December, while the typical homeowner paid $625 a month, according to Harvard. Belsky said current conditions suggest many would-be buyers will find that owning a home is a better deal than renting.

“As markets tighten, these fence-sitters may begin to take advantage of today’s lower home prices and unusually low mortgage rates,’’ Belsky said. “Monthly mortgage costs relative to monthly rents haven’t been this favorable since the early 1970s.’’

David Stevens, chief executive officer of the Mortgage Bankers Association based in Washington, D.C., said a recovery would be even stronger if lenders were able to loosen strict lending requirements. He said lenders have become increasingly strict about financing buyers, prompted by increased government regulations and concerns about legal liability.
“We are seeing very good signs of recovery but it is not as strong as it should be,’’ Stevens said.

Scott Hopper - Realtor, 530.477.2277

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