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Realtor predicts housing market improving

Monday, April 21, 2008

Is it possible the housing market has hit bottom? One Orange County realtor thinks we're getting close despite all of the foreclosure activity and sluggish sales.

According to this realtor, the statistics are there that show the demand for housing, at least in Orange County and maybe Los Angeles County, is growing little by little, especially among first-time homebuyers.

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Steve Thomas is a RE/MAX realtor in Aliso Viejo and he says we will soon be seeing more "sold" signs on homes than we've had in a long time. Does he mean we've finally hit bottom in the housing market?

"What I'm saying is that right now it's the seeds of a recovery," says Thomas.

Thomas says he's been tracking the housing market daily since 2004 and last year was indeed a bad year for sales and foreclosures. But this year, he says, is significantly different.

"Demand-wise, we're seeing eight times the demand that we did last year," says Thomas.

And what's the basis for Thomas to say that? Statistics on homes in escrow and market time is his answer.

Last year at this time Orange County had 1,925 homes in escrow; this year, 2,374. And, one year ago it took nearly eight months to sell a home, now it's down to less than six. And, Los Angeles County is seeing similar numbers.

Thomas believes the difference is first-time homebuyers in the less-than-$500,000 range.

"In many cases, we're actually receiving multiple offers on a lot of homes priced below $500,000," says Thomas.

Unfortunately homes in the higher price ranges are not getting the same activity.

Before you rush out of the house to buy, remember this: a few months of good activity does not make a trend just yet. And pending home sales could fall out of escrow. But if you are a first-time homebuyer and not a speculator, this could very well be the time to buy.

And Tuesday night at 11 p.m. we'll show you what you need to know before you buy your first home.

 

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