🖤 Donations of all sizes power our public service journalism Give Now

Housing market improving, slightly

Jeff Tyler Jun 19, 2012
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Housing market improving, slightly

Jeff Tyler Jun 19, 2012
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Jeremy Hobson: So there’s good news and bad news on the housing front this morning. New home construction fell last month. But building permits — which indicate future construction — were at the highest level in four years.

That mixed bag is why recovery is still probably too strong a word for the housing market as Marketplace’s Jeff Tyler reports.


Jeff Tyler: A recent survey of homebuilders found them slightly more optimistic about the housing market.

David Crowe is chief economist with the National Association of Home Builders.

David Crowe: We expect to see continued improvement. It won’t be fast. It won’t be furious. But it will be steady.

Still, Crowe says one obstacle homebuilders face is…

Crowe: Stiff competition from foreclosed homes. And some of them at very distressed prices.

On the positive side for consumers, house prices have fallen, and mortgage rates are low. But housing market consultant Tom Lawler says prospective borrowers still have a hard time getting a mortgage.

Tom Lawler: Conditions are a lot tighter than several years ago. They’re not as much tighter as, say, the early 90s. But they are still tighter.

Even with tighter loan requirements, there are pockets of growth — especially in the middle of the country. But economist Crowe says traditionally strong housing markets — like Atlanta, Phoenix and Southern California — have yet to bounce back.

I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.