Statistical Indicators

Rising Home Sales Don't Offset Lagging Confidence in Market

Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Amid reports of home sales being boosted, the reality remains that the market is in a dark place. Sales prices are down, and though mortgage rates remain at record-lows, few people are qualifying for loans under the strict standards banks have in place.
Add to that list the woes of real estate agents and other professionals whose job security depends on the success of the housing market.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the real estate subsector, which includes lessors of real estate, offices of real estate agents and brokers, and any activities related to real estate, has risen from 6.6 percent in October 2010 to 8.3 percent in January 2011.
In 2006 before the housing bust, the unemployment rate for this sector was 2.8 percent.
A Realtor confidence study released in January by the National Association of Realtors shows confidence in the strength of the housing market is down across the nation.
In the West, Realtor confidence came in at 27.7 percent in December 2010, up from 25.4 percent in November of that year but down from 36.3 percent in December of 2009. Similarly Realtor confidence was down to 25.1 in the South from 34.6 percent in December 2009; down to 22.3 percent from 31.2 percent in the Northeast; and languishing at 19 percent in the Midwest, down from 27.6 percent a year earlier.
Correspondingly, consumer confidence also seems to be gloomily low.
The Economic Confidence Index measured -26 on Tuesday. The poll, conducted by Gallup, also shows that 44 percent of Americans said they are “poor.”
And 37 percent of Americans polled by Gallup said future economic conditions are “getting better,” down from 43 percent the previous week and matching the 38 percent of the same week in 2010.
“Optimism is no better now than it was a year ago,” said the Gallup Web site, “suggesting that little progress has been made economically over the past 12 months
By: Joy Leopold, DSNEWS

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