Today's Globe reports that a study to be released later today by the Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies predicts that our multi-year decline in home prices will bottom out this year and an upward rebound in price will begin. The indicators that lead to this conclusion include a recent increase in home sales, low inventories of properties for sale, and rising rents. The study also predicts that the housing recovery will not proceed evenly across the country but will be more regional with the hardest hit areas the slowest to recover. Fortunately, the Boston area is one identified as likely to rebound the fastest, mainly because the economy in Massachusetts is in better shape than in much of the rest of the country.
Hopefully this report is accurate. Certainly with interest rates so low any surge in housing activity will have ample and affordable financing. The two biggest obstacles I see locally, particularly in the city of Lowell, are the number of homes that remain underwater on their mortgages and continued foreclosure activity which, although down from a year ago, is still substantial. We'll keep close watch on the numbers here in Middlesex North for early indicators of an uptick in activity and in prices.