Thursday, August 27, 2009

Is a housing market rebound underway?

Articles in yesterday’s Boston Globe and New York Times both suggest that the nation’s housing market is slowly starting to rebound. Both total sales and median price for sales in both June and July when compared to a year ago show a slight increase.

Locally, evidence of a market turnaround is more elusive. Looking at sales with prices above $75,000 and below $750,000, we find the following: For Lowell, in July 2009, the median sales price was $179,000 while in July 2008 it was only $173,500. That represents an increase of 3%. In the towns, the median price in July 2009 was $305,750, but in July 2008, the median was $316,450. That represents a 3% decrease.

Despite these figures, I believe the real estate market in the towns is bouncing back slightly, while Lowell remains troubled due primarily to the high inventory of foreclosed properties. Still, the situation is much better than it has been. For example, here’s what I wrote on August 14, based on mid-month recording statistics:

Besides the continuing trend of fewer foreclosures, the most important observation we can make is that homes in the towns seem to be holding their values pretty well. This conclusion is based on the significant increase in the number of suburban mortgages being recorded. In Lowell, on the other hand, the number of mortgages being recorded is down slightly, but it’s down nonetheless which suggests that any rebound in home prices has not yet reached the city of Lowell.

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