The spring buying season is showing early promise with an 11% rise in April from the record low in March.
One would hope the good news would lead to rising home prices. At the REthink Symposium held by HousingWire early this week, some market analysts felt prices may appreciate somewhat on the weak rise in demand.
If so, it won't last.
And if that price appreciation marks the end of the double dip, then it's time we prepare for the triple dip. Furthermore, brace yourself for a sector that will keep seeing its share of scoops.
So considering the consensus is for six more years of ups and downs
, isn't it about time we come up with a new metaphor? After all, the only constant in housing is volatility.
Regardless, the good news in my Tuesday talk with Ed Haldeman, chief executive of Freddie Mac
, was about his profitable quarter
. He joked that I looked to "avoid talking about it," preferring to focus less on numbers and more on strategies.
We can talk about it now. Royal Bank of Scotland
analyst Margaret Kerins said Freddie profits are "the glimmer of hope this quarter."
The profit is due in part to Freddie selling record numbers of REO
. So despite news Thursday that foreclosures are at the lowest level in 40 years
, that is another factoid unlikely to remain a constant in the new market.
"The emerging theme this quarter was that the resumptions in foreclosures should increase the inventory of homes the GSEs own and have to sell, further depressing housing prices," according to Kerins.
Truthfully, it's technically not a triple-dip if there is no notable appreciation to speak of.
But it does point to an interesting dynamic where sales pick up, yet the glut of supply still far outweighs demand, and prices deteriorate.
"We expect sales to pick up again as the spring selling season continues, but remain concerned that the lack of mortgage credit will restrict the sales improvement we had expected for 2011," reads the Morgan Stanley
March housing data report. "Home prices should continue their declines, and we expect to see larger (year-over-year) declines printed in the next month."
Write to Jacob Gaffney
Follow him on Twitter @JacobGaffney