My Take on the February Report from the National Association of Realtors

Today, the National Association of Realtors released its monthly report for February on the housing market.  I was really encouraged reading through it.  Yes, existing home sales dropped slightly (by just .06 percent), but we have to remember what was going on during this time – snow, snow and more snow!  I know that I […]

Today, the National Association of Realtors released its monthly report for February on the housing market.  I was really encouraged reading through it.  Yes, existing home sales dropped slightly (by just .06 percent), but we have to remember what was going on during this time – snow, snow and more snow!  I know that I was snowed in at my home for several days, and many people around the country found themselves inside staying warm, as opposed to outside looking at or closing on homes.

Another important consideration is that contracts are often written 30-45 days in advance of closing dates.  So some of the February closings may trace back to the end of the holiday season, which is typically a slow time for our industry.  The fact that the numbers remained relatively steady in spite of these two factors is positive from my perspective.

Inventory, or the number of homes available, was also higher, but this is a typical seasonal jump – many people put their homes on the market in February and March in anticipation of the spring buying season.

Looking through the report, it’s important to note that first time home buyers accounted for 42 percent of the existing home sales in February.  Based on my travels and conversations with Coldwell Banker agents across the country, almost everyone is seeing more first time home buyers get off the fence and into the market.  The next several weeks will be critical as we head toward the first time home buyer tax credit deadline on April 30, so we could see even stronger activity in this sector of the market.

Speaking of the tax credit, I encourage buyers not to wait until the last moment to try and go into contract to take advantage of this opportunity.  Buying a home, especially for the first time, can be complex.  Speaking with a real estate professional is a critical part of the process!

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  • http://www.therealtorstoolbox.blogspot.com Sean Carpenter

    Jim – Great insight, as we have come to expect from you. As is often the case, we must look closely at past behavior to determine future actions. Between the holidays, the shoveling of snow and the receipt of bills from thos holidays, I think many people took a short sabbatical from the house search in late January.

    Now that the nsow has thawed in much of the country and cabin fever and spring fever have hit hard across the upper two thirds of the USA, I think we’re ready to see more than fresh flower blooms bursting out this spring.

  • http://www.apartmentshere.com MichaelRay765

    I manage a real estate office office in North Austin, we share the office with a few Austin Apartment Locators , from talking to them, it seems
    the apartment rental business has bottomed out, it seems to me that there are few times like these, not only in pricing, but also with historically low interest rates, that appears to make this a good time to buy.

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