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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Housing/Subprime/Credit Roundup — July 8, 2008

Items of Interest:

Pending homes sales index falls 4.7% in May, versus a 3.0% decline forecast by economists.

Housing Wire:
Drop in Pending Home Sales Dashes Hopes of Near-Term Housing Recovery -- The number of contracts entered into for existing U.S. homes fell 4.7 percent in May, dashing any hopes of a short-term housing recovery that had been created by a jump in pending home sales during April. On Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in May, fell 4.7 percent to 84.7 from an upwardly revised reading of 88.9 in April, and remains 14.0 percent below the level recorded one year earlier.

The drop in May’s contract totals outpaced economists’ expectations, which had pegged the index to fall 3 percent; the large drop — even after a strong upward revision to April’s contract totals — clearly added to Wall Street’s already-dour mood in the financial sector.

One month after touting that “bargain hunters have entered the market en masse,” NAR economist Lawrence Yun was forced to reverse course Tuesday morning...

Michael Barone / CBS News:
Housing, The Subprime Mortgage Crisis And The Enduring Resilience Of The U.S. Economy -- A year ago last month, I attended two international conferences, in Istanbul and Oxfordshire, England, that concentrated on the economy. The consensus was that there was a capital surplus around the world, with people looking desperately for places to invest and not demanding much in the way of a risk premium. There was concern about what would happen when a crisis--a financial breakdown of some sort--might occur. No one, as I recall, mentioned American subprime mortgages...
On the Path to a Housing Rebound -- The pain that homeowners and homebuilders are feeling now is a sign that things are going to get better.

The news that housing starts have fallen to their lowest level in 17 years sounds like one more reason to be depressed about the shrinking value of your home. In fact, it's an almost certain sign that the path to a housing recovery is finally in sight.

If prices are going to stabilize, let alone rebound, the United States needs to produce far more first-time home buyers than new houses. That's the only way to tame the glut of "For Sale" signs dotting front yards from the Inland Empire of California to the Gold Coast of Florida...
Seeking Alpha:
CNN/Money: Housing Rebound in Sight! -- There it is! Right on the front page of Yahoo from none other than CNN/Money.com so it must be true. The bottom in housing will soon be here and you know what that means...

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