Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Housing Market: The Distressing Gap

Initially the gap was caused by the flood of distressed sales. This kept existing home sales elevated, and depressed new home sales since builders couldn't compete with the low prices of all the foreclosed properties.

The two spikes in existing home sales were due primarily to the first time homebuyer tax credit (the initial credit last year, followed by the extension to April 30th / close by June 30th). There were also two smaller bumps for new home sales related to the tax credit.

Since new home sales are reported when contracts are signed, the 2nd spike for new home sales was in April and then sales collapsed in May. The 2nd spike for existing home sales was in May and June, and then existing home sales collapsed in July.

I expect that eventually this gap will be closed. However that will only happen after the huge overhang of existing inventory (especially distressed inventory) is significantly reduced.


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