Recently "housing" has been on the minds of just about every trader I know, the Fed is also concerned. A big headline today is the drop in median existing home prices (first drop in 11 years).
But housing doom and gloom seems to have peaked recently in the media after seemingly everyone ran multiple stories on it and all the builders and realtors aired their pain and grievances. The housing stocks bottomed months ago and have been showing a nice slow consistent climb ever since. The 10-year yield (and 30 year fixed rate mortgages) continues its creep lower (4.55% right now). Annecdotally I’ve noticed that recently (as in the last 2 weeks) the glut of homes on the market in my area seems to have all but disappeared, houses are selling again. My brother in California just put his house on the market (up there around the 3/4 million range), the very first day it was listed, without even having an open house, he had over 20 visits, one offer, and two more offers expected. His timing is great, he is moving to Utah where he'll be able to buy a much larger house for half the price.
So is this just the first wave of “suckers” responding to reports in the media that it’s a buyers market and that this is a good time to buy since prices are down? Who knows? All I know is what I observe, and things look like they are firming for the moment… For a nice summary of the negatives we face as they relate to housing, see this recent Schwab Market Outlook by Liz Ann Sonders: Housing: ARMed and Dangerous.
Also if you haven't read it yet, check out this recent article on housing "lesson's learned": A Cautionary Housing Tale from Japan
[Our housing bubble seems downright tame compared to theirs. At least we never got to the point of “multi-generational” mortgages (60 year loans)!]