Southeast Housing Update: Home Prices Increasing, If Only Slightly
To detect emerging real estate trends prior to the release of the official statistics, the Atlanta Fed conducts a monthly poll of Southeast broker and builder business contacts. The latest poll results came in a few weeks ago and revealed the following:
- More builders, but fewer brokers, indicated that home sales had increased from the year-earlier level. Contacts were much less optimistic about future sales growth than they were a year earlier.
- Fewer brokers, but more builders, noted that inventory levels were down from the year-earlier level.
- Most brokers and builders continued to report that home prices increased slightly in May compared to year-ago levels.
- Fewer builders reported an increase in construction activity from month-earlier and year-earlier reports, but their outlooks remained optimistic and largely unchanged from the year-earlier level.
To view the latest poll results in more detail, please visit the Atlanta Fed's Construction and Real Estate Survey page.
Thoughts on credit availability
After more than a year of periodically posing questions about mortgage and construction and development finance, we decided to include the credit questions on a monthly basis starting in January 2014. In the latest poll, roughly two-thirds of brokers and builders reported that the amount of available mortgage finance was either equal to or greater than the amount of demand this month (see the charts).
Most builders, on the other hand, continued to report that the amount of available construction and development finance fell short of demand (see the chart). Because we didn't start asking this question until 2012 (and, again, at that point only intermittently), it is hard to say how this perception compares to how conditions were viewed before the housing downturn.
In an attempt to put things in perspective, we posed a special question in June to builders asking them how the availability of construction and development finance now compares with the availability four, six, eight, and 10 years ago. Most builders reported that construction and development finance is more available now than it was four years ago in 2010. The results for 2008 were somewhat mixed. Builders were almost unanimous in reporting that construction and development finance is less available now than it was in 2004 and 2006 (see the chart).
Note: The latest poll results are based on responses from 38 residential brokers and 19 homebuilders and were collected June 2–11, 2014. If you would like to participate in this poll, please sign up.
By Jessica Dill, senior economic research analyst in the Atlanta Fed's research department
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