Home Prices Hot In Some Areas

The Wall Street Journal reports that not all places are experiencing a decline in home prices.

The housing news isn’t all grim. Even as prices sag nationwide, there are several cities in the country where home values are climbing smartly.

Portland, Ore., Boise, Idaho, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Houston, Austin, and Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C., are among the cities bucking the national trend. Homes’ appreciation there between the fourth quarters of 2005 and 2006 far exceeded the national average of 5.9%, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.

There’s no single secret of these cities’ apparent success, but many of them missed the housing boom of the past five years. From 2001 to 2005, annual appreciation in these cities was between 2% and 5%, far slower than the 7% to 12% national average… Now, prices are playing catch-up.

These cities emerged from the last recession later than most of the country for various reasons… Now, their economies are strong and housing prices are still perceived as affordable, luring buyers into the market.

…The growth of Portland, Salt Lake City, Boise and Seattle can be attributed in part to an influx of former Californians and people opting out of slumping Las Vegas or Phoenix. The trend may have created smaller echo booms — especially in Boise and Salt Lake City.

All of this sounds good and makes sense. However, as usual some spokesperson for NAR (national association of realtors), Mr Yun predicts prices nationally will bottom out sometime this summer.

Yeah right!

Why does NAR always have to put a positive spin on everything. Why not just admit that people, brokers and lenders got carried away and home prices got ahead of themselves. And that they might not recover in California, Arizona and Florida for a few more years.

I wonder how Mr Yun even came to that conclusion. According to what I read, there is a record number of foreclosures occurring in California, a million adjustable-rate mortgages about to re-adjust upwards over the next 2-3 years and a tightening of lending standards which means less people will qualify to buy homes or even refinance their existing mortgages. Also builders have started offering huge discounts on new houses and a lot of upgrades in an effort to move their inventory.

Incidentally, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting, NARs numbers are off and home sales are falling faster than reported.

I don’t think NAR is lying about the numbers, they just don’t what they’re talking about!

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