Southeast Housing Update: Homes Sales Off to a Solid Start in January; Outlook More Upbeat
Southeastern housing contacts reported that home sales were off to a positive start in January 2013. Nearly two-thirds of brokers and more than three-fourths of home builders indicated that sales were ahead of the year-earlier level (see the chart). Reports from homebuilders were more positive than broker reports. Nearly a third of builders reported that sales were up significantly while half indicated more modest increases in January compared with a year earlier.
Once again, brokers and builders indicated that home inventories remained below the year-earlier level in January (see the chart). Several brokers continued to note that low listing inventories were restraining sales. Many also noted that they were receiving multiple offers for properties, particularly at the low end of the market.
Both builders and brokers continued to indicate home price appreciation in January (see the chart). Most indicated that home prices rose modestly compared with a year earlier.
Builders reported that construction activity was ahead of the year earlier-level (see the chart). Similar to reports on new home sales, a third of builders described construction activity in January was up significantly from a year earlier while more than half of builders said that construction activity was up slightly.
The outlook for sales among brokers and builders over the next several months remained positive (see the chart). Brokers indicated that their outlook was a bit more upbeat than their position a year earlier.
Southeast builders' sales outlook was much more positive than their view a year earlier and a bit stronger than current broker expectations (see the chart).
Note: January poll results are based on responses from 50 residential brokers and 28 homebuilders and were collected February 4–13, 2013. 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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