STATEMENT: Quarterly N.A.R. Survey Not as Rosy as it Appears
By Andrew Jakabovics
Associate Director for the Economic Mobility Program
Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Association of Realtors released their latest quarterly survey of metropolitan area home prices. The results of the survey data vary. While the NAR is right to focus on the metro-level home price data rather than the national median, the picture is not quite as promising as they make it out to be. When we factor in inflation since last year, only 53 metro areas saw gains in house prices, significantly less than the 97 markets touted by the NAR’s press release.
More significantly, however, whatever gains have been made in price appreciation reflect data from the last quarter of what may be looked on as the “loose credit” era. As interest rates rise, the price of a house that can be bought for a given monthly payment falls. With interest rates up significantly of late and lenders tightening credit even for prime borrowers, the odds are good that the gains that have been made in some markets will be whittled away in the release of July’s new construction and existing home sales data later this month.
Andrew Jakabovics is the Associate Director for the Economic Mobility Program at the Center for American Progress. He works on housing, household debt, and higher education, as well as other issues related to sustaining and growing the middle class. Jakabovics has appeared on television and radio and in print, most recently for his research on housing affordability in the Boston metropolitan area. Prior to joining CAP, Jakabovics served as the research chief of staff for the MIT Center for Real Estate’s Housing Affordability Initiative. In 2004, he founded a grassroots organization, Kiruv for Kerry, which conducted outreach to the Orthodox Jewish community, drafted position papers, and connected policy issues with Jewish principles. He has also lectured on the relationship of Jewish law to the modern, democratic state. Andrew holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from Columbia University and an M.C.P. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is currently pursuing his doctorate.
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