What's going on in the housing market?

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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Sales of new single-family homes were
flat last month. And the supply of houses on the market reached a 42-year low. Earlier this week, we heard builders were starting more new homes. But most of those were multi-family, as in apartments, not single family. Marketplace's Alisa Roth is with us live from New York to tell us what's going on. Good morning, Alisa.

ALISA ROTH: Good morning.

CHIOTAKIS: So what is going on in the housing market?

ROTH: Well, I hate to say this, but it's hard to know. It's certainly better than it was, say, last year. But it's certainly not in great shape. I talked to Sam Chandan this morning. He's chief economist at Real Analytics, which is a real estate research firm. He says people are still scared.

SAM CHANDAN: Americans are still seeing that the outlook for the economy is fairly weak. We're certainly not creating jobs in a way that would allow people make the transition from renting to home ownership.

He also made the point that yes, mortgage rates are unbelievably low. But since it seems like housing prices are going to stay low for a while, too, nobody's in a big hurry to buy.

CHIOTAKIS: Now is that a long-term trend, Alisa? I mean, are Americans moving away from home ownership?

ROTH: It's really still too early to say. Sam Chandan, for one, doesn't think so.

CHANDAN: At this point there's very little evidence to suggest the bias towards home ownership has shifted towards renting for the long term in a way that will ultimately change the way Americans think about wanting to become home owners.

But I think we'll ahve to wait until the economy gets better, until people feel more sure, to see if they really stay away from home ownership permanently.

CHIOTAKIS: Marketplace's Alisa Roth reporting from New York. Alisa, thanks.

ROTH: You're welcome.

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