According to new data, the sales of existing homes may have risen in the month of November. Good news for the housing industry, but we’re still a long way from those pre-recession numbers.
Purchases increased to a 4.75 million annual rate, up 7.1 percent from October, according to the median of 70 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Another report may show the U.S. economy expanded at a faster pace in the third quarter than previously estimated.
Lower prices and mortgage rates have made houses more affordable, which may keep supporting demand after the end of a government tax credit caused the industry to slump. At the same time, unemployment hovering near 10 percent is a reminder it will take years for housing to regain pre-recession levels.
“The earliest I see sound improvement is 2012,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, an economist at BNP Paribas in New York. Even so, she said, “we’re going to see some gradual improvement in the demand measures for housing.”
The National Association of Realtors is scheduled to release the sales figures at 10 a.m. in Washington. Survey estimates ranged from 4.25 million to 5.2 million.
A tax credit worth as much as $8,000 boosted sales to a two-year high 6.49 million pace in November 2009, when the incentive was originally due to expire.