By Sarah Trzepacz, Content Strategist, REALTOR.org
Thursday morning, NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun addressed an audience of early-rising REALTORS® on current housing market trends and economic indicators. Although there is no question that we have entered into difficult economic times, with more than 6 million jobs lost and an unemployment rate expected to rise into double digits, Dr. Yun stressed that there are reasons to be optimistic.
With a record high housing affordability index and the lowest mortgage rates since the Eisenhower administration, Yun said: “There’s never been a better time to buy.” He encouraged REALTORS® to facilitate homeownership among qualified home buyers, who should remain within their budgets. “REALTORS® don’t want to encourage homeownership for its own sake, but rather to facilitate sustainable homeownership for the long term,” he stated.
As he walked the crowd through a number of housing indices and national statistics, Yun was careful to remind the audience that variations on both the national and local levels are common. Of the correlation between national and local home price data, Yun explained that looking at national statistics as a measure of local conditions, is like looking at national weather trends to determine what the weather is like outside your front door.
For example, while national statics show a steep drop in home prices, some markets like Dayton, Ohio, prices have been relatively unaffected; while others, such as Orange County, California have experienced price corrections in keeping with national statistics. For this reason Yun said: “Local professionals—like REALTORS®—and their understanding of the local markets are key for consumers. National and macro data are less important.”
Read more on Lawrence Yun’s assessment of economic conditions and forecasts, and find more NAR’s research visit the Economists’ Outlook.