2017 starts slightly better than 2016

by Gary Peruzzini

Pending Homes Sales closed out 2016 up 1.6% in December and comfortably ahead of a year ago. This National Association of Realtors (NAR) index of contracts signed on existing homes bodes well for the level of those closings a couple of months out. As reported last week, existing home sales finished the year at the highest point since 2006. Inventory is still a problem in many areas, but the NAR’s chief economist expects housing starts will go up 7.9% this year, "especially if construction related regulations are relaxed." And it looks like they will be.
The latest Case-Shiller National Home Price Index was up 5.6% annually. The chair of the Index Committee said, "With the Index rising at about a 5.5% annual rate over the last two-and-a-half years, and having reached a new all-time high recently, one can argue that housing has recovered." The EVP of a real estate site added, "The good news is…2017 is getting off to a slightly better start than 2016, and existing homes sales are staying at a healthy level." The property economist at an economic consultancy observed, "After reaching a 50-year low in mid-2016, the homeownership rate edged up for the second consecutive time in the final quarter." Things are looking up.

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