Southeast housing update: Atlanta Fed polls show softening home sales in June
Reports from Southeast housing contacts indicated that activity in the region softened somewhat in June on a year-over-year basis.
However, the majority of Florida brokers continued to report year-over-year gains.
We asked brokers to let us know what was preventing buyers in the Southeast from purchasing a home during the first half of 2011. Brokers' most common response was the inability of buyers to qualify for financing, followed closely by the buyers' inability sell their current home. Slow response from banks came in third, and Florida brokers reported this slow response was the chief obstacle to home purchase.
We then asked brokers which obstacles to buying a home had been the most problematic for buyers. Southeastern brokers clearly reported that the inability of buyers to sell their current home was most problematic.
However, a look at Florida brokers' responses indicated that the buyers' inability to sell their current home along with slow response from banks was hindering sales.
Southeastern builders reported that construction activity was similar to weak levels a year earlier while the outlook improved a bit.
In June we revisited questions on home improvement construction that we posed at the end of the first quarter. The majority of builders reported that home improvement construction exceeded the year-earlier level, an improvement over first-quarter activity. The outlook also improved from earlier in the year as well.
However, builders indicated that it remained difficult to pass along cost increases in the home improvement work they were bidding.
Southeastern brokers indicated that buyer traffic remained positive in June on a year-over-year basis while builders noted buyer interest was similar to a year earlier.
Note: June poll results are based on responses from 82 residential brokers and 37 homebuilders and were collected July 5–13, 2011.
The housing poll'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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