Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Have we hit a bottom in housing?

There have been some glimmers of light in the darkening economic picture, including retail sales for January and February and sales of both new and existing homes in February. It’s clear that ongoing market adjustments in key sectors are essential to eventual economic recovery and expansion.

The policy blitz coming from the Administration, Congress, the Federal Reserve and foreign policymakers certainly are helping to move the train down the track toward the recovery tunnel — and the light at the other end should be in view soon.

This economic recovery pattern cannot materialize without near-term stabilization of the housing sector, and let's hope recent policy initiatives to help housing turn that corner.

Housing pundits are forecasting a bottoming for home sales in the first quarter of this year, a bottom for total and single-family housing starts in the second quarter, and a bottom for the residential fixed investment component of GDP in the final quarter of 2009.

National average house prices should stabilize within a few quarters, and the majority of the decline may now be behind us.

Yesterday, Diane Swonk released her housing market forecast on a particularly encouraging note. Click here for more.

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