The lion’s share of home sales typically come in the spring and early summer. April, May, June and July account for more than 40% of all housing transactions annually, in large part thanks to weather. Economists, realtors and Wall Streeters have been quick to surmise that 2012 will be the year of the market bottom, and with that prognosis circulating, it begs the question of what sellers and buyers can expect in housing as that high season nears.
“The spring home buying season looks bright because of an elevated level of contract offers so far this year,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist of NAR, said in a statement earlier this week. February home sales, despite a slight dip from January to February, remain well above 2011 numbers. The Pending Home Sales Index, which reflects signed contracts that have yet to close, from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) was 9.2% higher than February of 2011 and existing-homes sales, or closed contracts, were 8.8% higher than last year.
That increased demand from buyers has pushed inventory levels 19% lower than they were this time last year, with an estimated 2.43 million homes available for sale. In fact, housing inventory is at a five-year low nationally right now. It means owners tinkering with the thought of selling have less competition to contend with, compared to the past five years. It also means housing may be inching toward a long-awaited recovery.
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