Do NAR, OFHEO Reports Mean Housing is Ready to Recover?

New information from the National Association of Realtors and the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight released today provides a fresh look at the housing crisis–but not necessarily a clear one.

The OFHEO said today that home prices grew 0.6 percent from January to

  • In the 12-month period ending in
    February, prices fell 2.4 percent.
  • Prices increased 2.2 percent a seasonally adjusted
    basis in New England, rose 0.3 percent in the Pacific region and fell 0.6 percent In the Mountain region.

NAR found that existing home sales fell slightly in March and prices increased a little compared to the month before–but were still lower than last year’s levels.

  • The national median existing-home price sunk 7.7 percent from
    a year ago–the second largest year-to-year drop.
  • The average March home sale price increased slightly–to $200,700–from February’s $195,600 median price.
  • Sales of condominiums and existing single-family homes dropped by 2
    percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.93 million
  • Compared with 2007, sales were down 19.3 percent.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun is still saying sales should rise in the second half of the year–but he isn’t sounding quite as confident about how much these results proved that will be the case.

According to NAR’s press release, the market is performing

“Though mortgage rates are at historically low levels, some
borrowers are facing restrictive lending practices in declining
markets,” Yun said.  “At the same time, many buyers continue to bide
their time with a large number of homes to choose from, while other
potential buyers remain on the sidelines.”

What do you think? Will the housing market really start to turnaround–and remain in a recovery–as early as this summer? Or will it take much longer?