(Source: By Elliot Njus, The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.) - Today’s don’t-miss housing and development news from around the web:
Recovery: Many housing observers, especially those who haven’t been saying it for five years now, are reluctant to use the R-word. Nonetheless, serious institutions are throwing some weight behind the idea that this is the real thing.
The New York Times today published a story on recent strong housing news, saying “after several years of false hopes, evidence is accumulating that the optimists may finally be right.” It quotes housing industry sources, some of whom who haven’t been as bullish in the past, explaining why they’re once again pumping money into housing investments.
Earlier this month, the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies released its annual report on housing, saying that there are signs of a turnaround in progress.
Here’s what’s happening now that give claims of a recovery a little more weight:
– The inventory of homes on the market has fallen to lows not seen since before the bubble burst. For the first time, demand outpaces supply.
– Job growth is steadier (though hiring isn’t meeting analyst expectations).
– Rental housing is making a comeback, indicating some of the recessionary pent-up demand for housing is being released. That’s been a big boost for the construction industry, and for some, it may now be cheaper to buy than to rent.
– Mortgage delinquency is on the decline. That means fewer are at risk of foreclosure. More foreclosures, meanwhile, will be avoided through short sales.
Coming soon: the looming threats that could throw the whole thing off the rails. The short version is that the broader economic recovery is fairly fragile, and housing won’t recover on its own.
Mortgage rates: Freddie Mac says average rates stayed at their record lows on Thursday. That’s 3.66 percent for a 30-year fixed loan and 2.94 percent for a 15-year fixed.
Urban boom: Census data to be released today indicates cities grew faster than the suburbs during the recession, the Los Angeles Times reports. It may be tied to slow household formation.
Multigenerational housing: OPB’s Think Out Loud radio show on Wednesday discussed the Census study on shared households released last week. I wrote a short post when the report came, and it also ran in the next day’s newspaper. A reader wrote back, in part:
I do genealogy and have found many times non-related people living with the family I’m checking into. Also, in my own family, my great-grandmother was living with my grandparents. … This is now new as the article implies. It has been ongoing for decades.
OPB gets into the history of shared housing in the first five minutes or so of its show. Nonetheless, it certainly expanded in the recession.
–Thursday’s real estate transactions and industry notes.
©2012 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)
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