A market turns

August 19, 2012 

Two things made the Great Recession so bad: the collapse of leading financial institutions and the devastation of housing values. It’s taken nearly forever for housing to begin its turnaround, but increasingly the evidence points in that welcome direction. Homebuilder confidence is rising nationwide, and while the iceberg of foreclosures still threatens to sink a housing recovery, it’s beginning to crack, if too slowly.

In the Triangle (including Johnston County) there’s been a definite improvement this year. Home sales have grown by double-digit percentages, including a solid 26 percent in July. Pending sales are up by a similar amount, and the time a house spends on the market is down. Admittedly, those figures are gains from a dismal base, but gains they are.

Interestingly, the number of houses on the market – “inventory”– has declined. But that’s likely due to the lack of price appreciation: many people who’d like to sell are still waiting for a higher return. Meantime, with interest rates ultra-low, folks who can qualify for a mortgage have reason to cheer.

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