How is the Bethesda real estate market and surrounding areas currently doing? Just ask some of the leading economists about the current state of the real estate market and where it is heading. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Existing Sales Report released last week. sales were down 2.6% from the previous month. However, the monthly variations are not what determines where the market is going. In the same report, NAR also explained that sales WERE UP 5.2% over last March’s numbers. When assessing the direction of the markets, the experts consider the key underlying data that truly determines where the market will be heading over the course of the next several months.
Here are the most recent conclusions of several leading housing economists..
Paul Diggle, property economist, Capital Economics
“March’s decline in existing home sales probably reflects the normal month by month volatility rather than renewed underlying weakness. The increase in households’ confidence in the outlook for the housing market, coupled with a gradual improvement in the pace of the economic recovery, should drive a rise in home sales later this year….It is possible that the pattern within the quarter has been driven by the weather, with falls in the most recent two months reflecting a degree of payback after January’s gain.”
Doug Duncan, chief economist, Fannie Mae
“Conditions are coming together to encourage people to want to buy homes. Americans’ rental price expectations for the next year continue to rise, reaching their record high level for our survey this month. With an increasing share of consumers expecting higher mortgage rates and home prices over the next 12 months, some may feel that renting is becoming more costly and that homeownership is a more compelling housing choice.”
Celia Chen, senior director of housing economics, Moody’s
“The residential property market is recovering, as the factors underlying demand and supply strengthen. Even after accounting for unusual seasonal patterns brought on by the unusually warm winter, conditions have not been this strong since the government ended homebuyer tax credits in 2010.”
Mark Vitner, senior economist, Wells Fargo
“Existing home sales dropped 2.6 percent, but are up 5.2 percent from a year ago. While existing sales are down for the second consecutive month, we are likely continuing to see payback from increases earlier this year. That said, we could see one more month of disappointing data, but we still contend the recent declines are not indicative of the trend. Stabilization will become more apparent once we return to normal weather.”
Mark Fleming, chief economist, CoreLogic
“Since the peak in home prices, mortgages rates have declined and affordability has risen dramatically. Housing affordability is at levels not seen since prior to the early 1990s …While real estate professionals often say that “now is a good time to buy,” it is clear today that April 2006 was probably not a good time to buy, while now may well be the time.”