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Southeastern housing update: Atlanta Fed polls show sales mixed in September

Reports from southeastern housing contacts were mixed in September. Builders indicated that new home sales slowed notably, falling below the year-earlier level in September. Meanwhile, brokers reported that sales growth improved in September, with nearly two-thirds reporting gains. However, most described gains as modest.

More than two-thirds of southeastern builders reported that home inventories were below the year-earlier level in September, while close to half of brokers reported declines. By most broker accounts, September inventories were flat to slightly below August levels, while nearly half of builders described declining inventories over the period.

Reports from throughout the region confirm significant declines in home inventories on a year-over-year basis and more modest declines from August to September (see the table).

Home Inventory Changes, September 2011






–11.0% –2.1% Alabama Center for Real Estate

Jacksonville, FL

–14.5% –1.4% Northeast Florida Realtors Association

Knoxville, TN

–16.9% –14.3% Knoxville Area Realtors Association

Orlando, FL

–39.3% –1.2% Orlando Regional Realtors Association

Nashville, TN

–12.7% –3.5% Greater Nashville Association of Realtors

Tampa, FL

–40.3% –8.7% Greater Tampa Association of Realtors

Despite fewer available homes for sale, contacts continued to report downward pressure on home prices in the region. More than half of southeastern builders and brokers reported declining home prices in September.

Southeastern builders reported a sharp drop-off in buyer traffic in September on a year-over-year basis, while brokers noted a small improvement.

On balance, the outlook in September was little changed from August reports. However, the outlook among Florida brokers remained slightly positive but continued to weaken from its recent peak this past spring.

Note: August poll results are based on responses from 70 residential brokers and 35 homebuilders and were collected October 3–13, 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

October 31, 2011 in Housing | Permalink


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