Data from the National Association of Realtors may indicate a positive change for housing --- its seasonally adjusted index of sales agreements rose 8.2 percent from January to a better-than-expected February reading of 97.6. This index is often used as a barometer for how the market is doing, and the rise exceeded economists' expectations. Some analysts attributed the boost to a temporary tax credit.
Winter home sales were sluggish. But an extension of a tax credit that enables a break of up to $8,000 if first-time home buyers sign a contract by April 30 may signal a strong report for March home sales data.
In an interview with Marketplace Money host Tess Vigeland, UCLA professor Ed Leamer discussed where he thinks the housing market is right now.
I think that there has been a stabilization. There hasn't been significant appreciation. This market isn't going to get healthy again till we get the buyers back. It's a chicken-and-egg problem, because the buyers are not going to come back until they're confident that home prices are going to stabilize.
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