According to a recent article by Shawn Tully on CNNMoney.com, it looks like it may be time to buy again. After four years of plunging home prices, foreclosure and delinquencies, the real estate market may be on an uptrend. Founder and CEO of Metrostudy, Mike Castleman, has spent more than 30 years tracking real-time data on the inventory of new homes throughout the U.S. He dispatches 500 inspectors to drive through 5 million finished lots from Baltimore to Sacramento, examining each lot to record whether they include a home or homes that are under construction, for sale or sold. The company covers 19 states that comprise approximately 65% of the housing market in the U.S., including California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada, the states hit hardest by the real estate market crash.
"…in 35 years I've never seen a shortage of new construction like the one I'm seeing today," said Castleman. "The talking heads who are down on real estate will hate to hear this, but America needs to build a lot more houses. And in most markets the price of new homes is fixin' to rise, not fall."
The key figures collected by Metrostudy include the number of vacant and for sale homes in each city, an indicator of whether the market has a surplus or shortage of new housing. A total of 78,000 houses are currently for sale or vacant or under construction. This is less than one-fourth what it was at the peak of the real estate market frenzy in 2006.
Is housing back? Supporting the information that Casleman's company has obtained are statistics involving the steep decline in house prices. There has been an average 30% drop nationwide and drops as low as 55% in the hardest-hit markets. Will affordability lure us into purchasing homes once again? More jobs and lower unemployment rates should support Americans' ability to buy homes.
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