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Is Full Housing Recovery in Sight?

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RISMEDIA, May 26, 2009-Despite signs that housing sales may have reached bottom during the current housing recession, a full housing recovery is not yet in sight and home values will continue to fall during the next several quarters wrote noted housing economist David Lereah in a Market Commentary currently posted on Real Estate Economy Watch.

“The three major housing measures-existing home sales, new home sales and housing starts-are hovering above their cyclical lows posted in January of this year. And home values are currently falling at a slower pace than the pace registered in January. It is possible that the worst may be behind us; but it is another thing to say that the housing markets are on the road to recovery,” wrote Lereah.

Noting that a large percentage of sales are foreclosures, especially in Western states, which do not necessarily reflect a healthy marketplace, Lereah argued that in today’s residential real estate markets both quantity and quality matter. “An increase in home sales and residential construction is a welcomed expansion of housing activity, creating jobs, homes, and business profits/revenue.” But a decrease in home values reduces household wealth and household spending.

“Unfortunately, a full housing recovery is not yet in sight. Over twenty percent of homeowners are underwater (i.e., their loan balances exceed the value of their homes) and as home values continue to fall, that percentage may get worse. An oversupply of homes in the housing sector combined with a steady dose of foreclosure sales exerts further downward pressure on home values,” Lereah wrote.

“Only when home values stabilize, will we have a true recovery in the housing markets,” he said.

For more information, visit www.realestateeconomywatch.com.

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