2012: The Year of the Housing Recovery, Part III
More positive housing data:
1. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported today that its Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rose by 12.4% in July above a year ago, and reached the highest level since April 2010 when buyers rushed to take advantage of the first-time homebuyer tax credit that expired that month. The PSHI is a leading indicator of future housing sales activity based on contract signings for existing homes. July's year-over-year increase in the PHSI was the 15th straight month of back-to-back increases in pending sales of existing homes.
The average for the PHSI in 2012 through July of 99 is far above the annual averages for 2009 (95.0), 2010 (89.3) and 2011 (89.9), suggesting that the rebound in homes sales so far this year will continue into the fall and might even accelerate. Regionally, the largest annual gain in the July PHSI was for the Midwest, which registered a 20.2% increase in pending home sales, followed by the South with a 15.6% gain.
2. Sales of single-family homes in Massachusetts rose almost 27% last month compared to July 2011, and posted the highest sales volume for the month since 2005.
3. A post at Bonddad Blog titled "It's Not Just Case-Shiller: Almost Every House Price Index Everywhere Has Bottomed" reviews about a dozen home price indexes before concluding:
At this point, every single asking price index has turned positive. So have mean and median sales prices of existing homes as reported by both the NAR and Core Logic on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. Since both of these have turned positive YoY, it is not a matter of seasonality. So have 5 out of the 6 repeat sales indexes, including Core Logic, FHFA, Lender Price Services, Zillow, and as of this morning on a YoY basis, Case Shiller. Only the FNC repeat sales index, which is down -0.2% and likely to turn positive YoY within a month or two, and the very erratic Census Bureau mean and median new home sales price index, are not positive on a seasonally adjusted or YoY basis.MP: Given the shortage of housing inventory around the country, the release of foreclosed properties might actually help the real estate recovery, at least in terms of home sales.
While the permabear Doomers will stamp their feet, the simple fact is that there is now overwhelming evidence that the housing market has bottomed exactly when I said it would. The only question now is whether it is a long term bottom, or whether it might still be undone by the long-fabled but yet to appear foreclosure tsunami.