Gloomy census and FHFA data weighs on housing market

Thu, Mar 24, 2011


Seperate reports released yesterday by the US Census Bureau and the Federal Housing Finance Agency do not bode well for the local housing market.

According to this FHFA report, housing prices continued on a downward trend, falling 0.3 percent from December to January. For the 12 months ending in January, prices fell 3.9 percent to roughly the same level as May 2004.

In the mountain region, which includes Colorado, the drop was even more extreme. According to this Colorado Division of Housing breakdown, prices in the region fell 8.6 percent year-over-year, although that number includes harder hit states such as Arizona and Nevada.

Home prices in Colorado were basically flat from the fourth quarter 2009 to the fourth quarter 2010, with Colorado Springs prices dropping only 1.4 percent in that time period.

But now for the real dismal stuff.

According to this US Census Bureau report, sales of new single-family homes fell to 250,000 in February 2011. That’s a drop of nearly 17 percent from January’s total of 301,000, a 28 percent plunge from February 2010, and leaves homebuilders with a 9 month supply of new housing to churn through.

This is likely due to the fact that about half of all market activity are sales of distressed housing, such as bank-owned foreclosures and short sales.

Read more about that trend in my article “Foreclosures: Who steps in?” in this week’s Business Journal.

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