The May home numbers are in and they’re . . . not so bad, says Swamplot’s chart-wielding commentator:
The “spring selling season” is going well as average home prices are up 21.6% since the beginning of the year. Errrr…ummm….that is a big move and it underscores that there is a strong seasonal trend at work. The big bounce brought us up to slightly above May of last year on a median basis. Positives included record low interest rates and foreclosures were “only” 20% of the total.
Fewer foreclosures is better, right?
A reduction in foreclosure sales is a change in “product mix” and doesn’t reflect on the price of a given home. In prior reports we were encouraged to ignore them, now the lower # of foreclosures is embraced and is cited as “price gains.” The strong seasonal trend is powerful enough to keep the housing “bears” like me silent for a few months. May also featured some of the lowest interest rates in a long time, so buyers were poised to move and lock in lower rates.
It is the 3rd year in a row of sharply declining sales volumes. The sales pace is a bit over half of the 2005 peak. . . .
Overall, it is a good report for Houston. The last 3 years my chart peaked in [June,] July, . . . and August, so prices will turn down again at some point in the next 4 reports and then we will see how bad or good the market is. This [season] is always the best time to sell a home.
- MLS Report for May 2009 [HAR]
- Houston home prices inch upward, but sales down again [Houston Chronicle]
Charts: Swamplot inbox