The National Association of REALTORS reported today that the pending home sales index (PHSI) — a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings — during the month of January increased 4.5% to 105.9, compared to the downwardly revised figure of 101.3 in December 2012. (These figures do not reflect the number of closings.) Last month’s index was at its highest level since April 2010, when the index reached 110.9, just before the homebuyer tax credit expired.
January’s figure was also 9.5% higher than the January 2012 figure of 96.7. This shows year-over-year gains for the 21st consecutive month. “These numbers show that, over the years, those prospective homebuyers who were undecided have gotten off the fence and made the move to enter into a sales contract,” Mr. Moshé said. “This was at the time when housing prices were at the bottom and mortgage rates were at record lows.”
The challenges that Mr. Moshé sees to more growth in the residential Real Estate market are the rapidly dwindling inventory and the strict lending requirements by the banks and those proposed by the Federal Housing Administration. “We are looking forward to the spring season when the weather warms up and the banks release some of their ‘shadow inventory’ that has been kept off the market for so long,” he said. “Lenders are also asking for mortgage applicants for nearly perfect credit and large down payments. Hopefully, the government will reconsider and loosen the regulations that have hindered any chances for real improvement in the Real Estate market.”
Mr. Moshé adds that the statistics are encouraging but the Real Estate market has not made a full recovery. “These numbers, while showing signs of improvement, do not show we are where we need to be right now,” he said. “It will be a few years before the housing market returns to pre-bubble levels.”
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Founded in 2006, Charles Rutenberg Realty of New York is one of the nation’s fastest-growing, most progressive Real Estate Agencies with over 1,300Agents on Long Island, Queens, Westchester, the Boroughs and Manhattan. Charles Rutenberg Realty specializes in residential properties in Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Kings and Westchester Counties. Among the 1,900 independent Real Estate offices represented by Multiple Listing Services (MLS), Charles Rutenberg Realty has the highest market share for available inventory, listings taken for the first six months of the year and listings under contract. Its Agents are trained in the latest creative marketing programs and can fulfill all their clients’ financial and personal needs when buying or selling a home. Charles Rutenberg Realty is headquartered in Plainview, New York, with offices in New York City, Florida and Illinois. For more information, call (516) 575-7500 or visit www.crrli.com.