Southeast housing update: Recent Atlanta Fed polls show home sales remain weak
The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's monthly survey of regional residential real estate brokers and homebuilders saw home sales remain weak in September. Florida brokers who had noted more moderate declines in August indicated that sales weakened further on a year-over-year basis while elsewhere in the Southeast sales growth declines moderated in September. Across the region, the majority of brokers and builders reported that home sales were flat to slightly down from August to September.
Of interest, many residential brokers in Florida noted that the recent moratorium by banks that halted foreclosures across much of the United States has stalled sales. As noted in the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors report "lender-mediated" sales have become a large share of market activity in Florida markets. The Orlando Regional Realtors Association reported that short sales and bank-owned homes accounted for 70 percent of home sales in September. Contacts outside of Florida did not note any concerns over the foreclosure moratorium.
The outlook among Southeast broker and builder contacts remained weak. More than half of brokers and builders anticipate year-over-year declines. In line with recent concerns, the outlook dimmed among Florida brokers while elsewhere in the region declines were expected to moderate.
Note: The September survey results are based on responses from 124 residential brokers and 51 homebuilders and were collected Oct. 4–13, 2010.
The housing survey's diffusion indexes are calculated as the percentage of total respondents reporting increases minus the percentage reporting declines. Positive values in the index indicate increased activity, while negative values indicate decreased activity.
By Whitney Mancuso, a senior analyst in the Atlanta Fed's research department
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