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Showing posts from January, 2012

Housing Inventory Ends Year Down 22%

There were fewer homes listed for sale at the end of 2011 than in any of the previous four years, a positive sign for the housing sector. But appearances can be deceiving, and it remains to be seen whether the drop is the beginning of a real recovery or if inventory is being held down by sellers waiting for prices to pick up and banks moving slowly on foreclosures. The 1.89 million homes on the market at the end of December represented a 6% decline from November and a 22.3% decline from one year ago, according to data compiled by Realtor.com. Low inventories are an important ingredient for any housing recovery because prices could firm up in markets that have worked through their inventory. Still, some real-estate agents aren’t celebrating because there’s a large backlog of potential foreclosures that haven’t yet been taken back and listed by banks. The inventory declines are particularly pronounced in certain states where banks have sharply slowed down foreclosures to correct docume…

Manhattan Residential Sales Prices Down Slightly

Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Manhattan apartment sales fell 12 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier as Europe’s debt crisis and sluggish U.S. job growth dimmed buyer appetites. Purchases of condominiums and co-ops declined to 2,011 from 2,295 in the fourth quarter of 2010, New York appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and broker Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate said in a joint report today. The median price of units that changed hands in the final three months of 2011 climbed 1.2 percent from a year earlier, to $855,000. “Consumers paused to see how things play out with all the information that’s coming at them right now,” Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, said in an interview. “Europe, the impasse in Washington over economic policy, the stagnant nature of the economy -- there’s a lot of conflicting economic news, and if you’re on the fence, maybe you wait a little bit.” Financial firms globally disclosed plans in 2011 to eliminate more than 200,000 jobs as they grappl…