Researchers say there are signs that the U.S. housing market is reviving, according to a report released by Harvard University’s Joint Center of Housing Studies earlier this month.
According to the center’s Director of Research Chris Herbert, the annual State of the Nation’s Housing report contains good news for the industry.
“It covers an array of takeaways, but in terms of the broad housing market, we think it is starting a true recovery,” he says. “There have been a few times where it seemed like it was picking up only to fall back down, but what’s different this time is we’re seeing more organic growth rather than stimulus-driving growth that later goes away.”
The center’s researchers feel that by the end of the year, there will be more consistency in the market, giving buyers more confidence to enter the market, Herbert says.
According to the report, by the first quarter of 2012, existing home sales (including single family and condos) were up 5.2 percent over last year, with single family sales up 6.3 percent.
Also worthy of note -- since the first quarter of 2011, home construction and improvement spending have made a positive contribution to the GDP in four out of five quarters.
Herbert says this is good news for those in the home decor business.
“Most of [home decor] business is driven by existing home sales, since the biggest investments in fixing up homes come a year or two after the home purchase is made, so the fact that we’re seeing home sales pick up is good news for that group,” Herbert says.
However, don’t expect big changes right away, Herbert cautions, since so many homeowners are still underwater on their mortgages.
“It’s started, but the metaphor we’ve been using is we’re in the early innings of a recovery, given that home sales are up,” Herbert says. “But it's still somewhat fragile, since the economy faces some threats from Europe, and also in our country, with possible fiscal changes coming at the end of the year.”
Read more findings from the report on the Joint Center for Housing Studies’ website.