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Monday, May 25, 2009

Housing: More problems ahead for the low end?

by Calculated Risk on 5/25/2009 08:06:00 PM

Bob_in_MA points out some interesting comments on low price areas in the WaPo article: Housing Bust Leaves Most Sellers at a Loss

In the Virginia and Maryland suburbs, prices for single-family homes are down to where they were five years ago. In Prince William and Loudoun counties, a flood of foreclosures has pushed prices so low that bargain hunters have flocked there in recent months, helping to boost sales.

But while in past slumps a surge in sales has signaled the start of a rebound, this downturn is unlike any in recent times and it's premature to call a recovery, said Barry Merchant, senior housing policy analyst at the Virginia Housing Development Authority.

The encouraging signs have been offset by more troublesome ones, he said. After tapering off for a few months, foreclosures in Northern Virginia are starting to creep up again and may keep climbing now that several lenders have lifted foreclosure moratoriums.

Meanwhile, the year-over-year sales increases of the past few months are petering out in some Virginia suburbs, suggesting that interest in the fire-sale prices may have peaked, Merchant said. In April, Loudoun sales declined 12.5 percent from a year earlier.

"If sales are not increasing and foreclosures are on the uptick, then the question is: 'Is there another shoe to fall?' " Merchant said. "Maybe what we were hoping was the bottom was just a bump on the way down."
It will be interesting to see if sales in the low end areas start to decline after the recent reports of booming sales to another round of investors and first time buyers ...
The low end of the real estate market [in Phoenix] — and in some equally hard-hit places like inland California and coastal Florida — is becoming as wild as anything during the boom.
... record or near-record-high sales this spring in many of the [California] Bay Area’s most affordable, foreclosure-heavy communities.
... the number of single-family houses that resold last month was at record or near-record-high levels for an April in many of the more affordable, foreclosure-heavy [Southern California] inland markets.