Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Perfect Storm?

Tonight's big storm seemed like a metaphor for the recent turning of a corner in the real estate market. From the Star Ledger:

Could the tide finally be turning?
Two new snapshots of the New Jersey housing market seem to suggest the worst of the decline may be over.

A report by East Brunswick-based research firm Otteau Valuation Group shows April home sales increased from the March level -- the first time that has happened since 2005 -- in what may be a sign market has bottomed out.

At the same time, a report released by the Mortgage Bankers Association yesterday showed although home foreclosures and late payments continued to set records across the country during the first three months of the year, fewer New Jerseyans were falling behind on their mortgages and losing their homes. "There are a growing number of indicators which suggest the housing market is no longer worsening," said Jeffrey Otteau, president of the Otteau Valuation Group.

In April, New Jersey sales contract activity grew for the fourth consecutive month, and recorded a 9.3 percent jump above the March level, Otteau said. By comparison, sales activity declined from March to April in both 2006 and 2007, he said.

Another positive development: The pile of unsold homes for sale is not rising as fast as it once was.

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