The first quarter of 2012 was the best first quarter for real estate in five years, and pending contracts suggest that the second quarter of 2012 will be the best second quarter in five years, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said this morning at the Residential Economic Update during the NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. Moreover, he said the second half of this year could be even better than the first, in part because of continued increases in rental costs and record affordability of homes. “Renters are getting squeezed, and they don’t want to rent anymore,” Yun explained. “This could be the year we see the release of pent-up demand.”
Home prices have been skipping along the bottom for about a year now, Yun said, a trend that has drawn investors into the market. These investors have helped housing through a couple of difficult years and partly mitigated the dysfunctional mortgage market. “Right now is the time to buy low,” he said. “Investors are coming in to take advantage. Second homes started to recover nicely last year because of investors.”
However, home values are poised for a rebound as more traditional buyers move back into the market, Yun said. In fact, this has already started to happen in areas such as Phoenix and Miami, which have seen year-over-year (March 2011 to March 2012) double-digit percentage increases in home prices.As real estate improves, consumer psychology around home ownership will change, he added. Coupled with the recent — if relatively modest — job growth and stock market gains, conditions are right for a sustained housing recovery.
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Positive Signs Abound for Housing NAR Daily Real Estate News | Thursday, May 17, 2012