Existing home sales dropped 9.6% in February. The market is 2.8% below the pace set in Feb. 2010. Some economists think this is normal given the type of recovery we are experiencing. Home sales seem to be constrained by the dual problem of unnecessarily tight credit and unacceptable appraisals which do not support prices negotiated between buyers & sellers. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $156,100.00 in February. This was 5.2% below the February 2010 value. Get this though- sales of newly built single family homes declined 16.9% in February. This is a record low and is certainly a reflection of consumer uncertainty regarding the overall economy. So, is this bad news? Well, it’s not good news but it’s better news than you would have heard on the subject a few months ago. For those of you who are in a position to buy-now seems to be the time to buy. NEXT WEEK MORE ABOUT THE SUPPOSED TAX ON THE SALE OF REAL ESTATE TO SUPPORT THE PRESIDENTS HEALTH CARE BILL.
The Dubuque Board of Realtors has reported that home sales for the first quarter are up very slightly from last year. They also report that home prices have seen a modest increase during that same period. What the report does not reference however the number of properties that are currently on the market is. We have been very fortunate here in Dubuque that the local market has not eroded as the markets in many other areas have. One of the big problems, as I see it, is financing. As a result of predatory lending practices across the country some buyers are having a tough time qualifying for financing. Let me make it clear that to our knowledge there were no predatory lending practices in our local market. We are blessed with numerous first class lenders. They, however, are feeling he brunt of some of the lending practices that took place in other parts of the country. All in all we are in pretty good shape for the shape we are in. As soon as our economy and world economies settle down and smooth out we should experience improved market conditions.