Here are a few highlights from the July 2009 Real Estate Agent Survey.
The low end of the market is picking up driven by foreclosures, first-time buyers, and investors. Prices have fallen to the point where buying is often cheaper than renting, and the government’s $8,000 first-time-homebuyer gift is helping many people jump in. Investors are also leaping in–either flipping houses bought at auction or planning to rent for a few years and then sell. Prices are low, but velocity is high.
For those who already own houses, “affordability” is not a particularly meaningful measure of the health of the housing market, due to the fact these individuals are unable to sell the houses they already own. Housing bulls often point to record “affordability” as an argument that house prices are about to rebound. Affordability is certainly driving sales among first-time buyers, but it doesn’t help much in the existing-homeowner segment. Only 29% of current buyers (per the survey) are existing homeowners.