Martha's Vineyard Real Estate : The Big Picture
Finally, some good news to report on the economic front: sales of existing homes, new homes and vacation homes nationwide are beginning to rise. According to the National Association of Realtors, pending home sales across the country rose 8.2 percent this winter, surprising analysts who had predicted sales to remain flat. Sales of new homes nationwide surged 27 percent in March, the strongest month since last July and the biggest monthly increase in 47 years. Sales are now up 18 percent from their low in early 2009.
Prices for single-family homes rose in 14 out of 20 metropolitan areas in March as well, in comparison with one year ago. Five metro areas, including Boston, experienced double-digit increases. Existing home sales in the Northeast increased from 6 to 9 percent (reports vary) despite stormy weather, 25.4 percent higher than a year ago.
Vacation home sales, the National Association of Realtors says, recovered in 2009. And long-term demand looks positive, with large numbers of people entering their prime years (mid-40s) for buying a second home. Experts also predict that mortgage lending for second homes will ease slightly in 2010.
While many economists foresee a slow recovery, they also believe that the fear that the bottom is going to drop out further is easing. They anticipate that as the overall economic recovery gains a foothold, home sales across the country will pick up gradually and move decisively higher in 2011.
As for the bigger economic picture, the Consumer Confidence Index, an indication of how optimistic Americans are about the state of the economy based on savings and spending activity, rose in April to 57.9, up from 52.3 in March -- significantly higher than economists expected.
The bottom line, according to economists who contributed to the National Association of Realtors' April 2010 report: growing consumer spending and a more favorable outlook on employment may translate to a healthier rebound of new and existing home sales.