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The Atlanta Housing Index Ends 2015 on a Sluggish Note

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Once again, stagnation strikes the U.S. housing industry as even National Mortgage Professional magazine reported the “latest housing and mortgage data from industry and federal sources presented a strange picture, with encouraging and discouraging news presented together in the same breath.” The November Cal-Culator, the last index to be written in 2015, will remain yet another month at 6.9.

November Cal-Culator

Home Sales

New residential sales: Sales of new single-family houses in October rose a solid 10.7 percent from September and 4.9 percent from October 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau News.

Pending home sales: In October, pending home sales barely nudged forward after two months of declines, according to the National Association of Realtors. Unfortunately, declines in the South offset gains in the Northeast and West.

The Pending Home Sales Index, “a forward-looking indicator” based on contract signings, inched forward 0.2 percent and now represents 14 consecutive months of increases.

“In the most competitive metro areas – particularly those in the South and West – affordability concerns remain heightened as low inventory continues to drive up prices,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

The NAR released information reflecting housing inventory decreased 2.3 percent in October from the previous month and 4.5 percent from a year ago. Unsold inventory is now at 4.8-month supply.

Existing Home Sales: According to the NAR’s latest data on existing home sales, sales were at a healthy pace in October, but failed to keep up with September’s jump. None of the four major regions, including the South, saw an increase in sales.

“New and existing-home supply has struggled to improve so far this fall, leading to few choices for buyers and no easement of the ongoing affordability concerns still prevalent in some markets,” said Yun. “Furthermore, the mixed signals of slowing economic growth and volatility in the financial markets slightly tempered demand and contributed to the decreasing pace of sales.”

Home Builder Confidence

The National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo National Housing Index decreased by three points to 62. Despite the drop, the index has made solid progress since the beginning of the year where it started at 57. Any score above 50 indicates that more homebuilders than not view the housing market as “good” rather than “poor.”

Home Prices

Home prices in Atlanta increased a marginal 0.39 percent, according to the November S&P Case-Shiller Atlanta Home Price Index.

The next Cal-Culator, the last index critiquing 2015 and a lookback on the year, will be released January 12. After a sluggish two months, we’re hoping we can bid farewell to 2015 with a welcome break in stagnation.

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