As expected, sales are picking up again as contracts must be signed before April 30th to qualify for the Federal tax credit:

After several disastrous months for home sales across the country, when volume dropped by 23 percent, the pace appears to be picking up again.

These deals will be reflected in the national sales reports when they become final, this month or next. There is no evidence that prices have begun to move in response to the higher volume. Indeed, so many homes are coming on the market that prices might well fall further.

… Robert Shiller, a professor of economics at Yale and co-developer of the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller housing price index, is an early advocate. He thinks the credit was a bad idea that nevertheless the market cannot do without.

“You don’t make drug addicts go cold turkey,” Mr. Shiller said. “The credit interferes with the market in an arbitrary way, but ending it now would be psychologically powerful. People will be in a bad mood about buying a house.” He advocates phasing it out gradually.

All early indications are that Boston sales for 1st Q of 2010 will be up from 2009. The big question: What will happen in the 2nd Q of 2010?

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