Southeastern housing update: Polls show improved July sales, weakened outlook
Reports from southeastern housing contacts indicated that sales growth rebounded modestly in July while the outlook for sales and construction activity weakened notably.
Reports from southeastern builders and residential brokers indicated that sales in July were flat to slightly up compared with a year earlier. The most positive reports continued to come from Florida residential brokers.
The majority of southeastern contacts reported that housing inventories remained below the year-earlier level in July.
The Orlando Regional Realtors Association reported that housing inventories continued to decline in July from earlier in the year and compared with a year earlier. They reported that total housing inventory was down 38 percent from July of last year; single family home inventory was down 33 percent while condo inventory was down 53 percent.
Reports from the Northeast Florida Realtors Association also show declining home inventories in July. Inventory declined 6 percent from June to July and was 31 percent below the year-earlier level.
July 2011 data from Greater Nashville Association of Realtors indicated reduced inventory levels as well. Residential inventories declined 8 percent from a year earlier, and condominium inventories declined 18 percent.
Brokers and builders continued to report downward pressure on home prices. Just over half of Southeastern builders and brokers reported that home prices were below the year-earlier level in July.
The outlook among Southeastern brokers and builders dropped sharply in July. More than half of brokers reported that they anticipate sales growth will decline over the next several months. The outlook from builders weakened as well. More than half of builders anticipate new home sales will be flat over the next several months. In June, most builders' expectations for growth were flat to slightly up.
Note: July poll results are based on responses from 78 residential brokers and 39 homebuilders and were collected August 1–10, 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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