How much more fun is it to read about real estate trends now that the news is consistantly positive? On a first hand basis, I can say that I see many more buyers in the market. This includes increased attendence at public open houses, a significant rise in inquiries on my website and to my advertising. But the most tell tale sign of all is the 2 recent offers I presented that were in multiple bid situations. For towns like South Orange and Maplewood, NJ this is such a huge turnaround from a mere 6 months ago.
And the facts back up my first hand experience 100%. Today, Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors – chief economist (kind of the Ben Bernacke of the real estate market) validated my anecdotal experience when he revealed that Pending Home Sales increased in March and are well above a year ago.
Why is this such an important indicator to watch? Because the Pending Home Sales Index is a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings – not closings. Closings typically happen 60-90 days later. And the good news is that the PHSI average rose by 4.1% in March. This is up from 97.4% in February and is 12.8 % above March 2011 . AND the index is now at the highest level since April 2010.
Yun aslo said 2012 is expected to be a year of recovery for housing. “First quarter sales closings were the highest first quarter sales in five years. The latest contract signing activity suggests the second quarter will be equally good.”
“The housing market has clearly turned the corner. Rising sales are bringing down inventory and creating much more balanced conditions around the county, which means home prices will be rising in more areas as the year progresses,” Yun said.