Housing demand ‘returns to normal’

The following article is by OCMetro’s Kristen Schott:
Housing demand – or the number of new pending home sales in the county – is “making its way back to normal” after the close of the federal first-time homebuyer tax credit on April 30, according to a new biweekly report from Altera Real Estate President Steven Thomas.

Demand fell 4 percent in the last two weeks to 3,167 – but the decline is significantly less than the 12 percent decrease in home sales reported in the prior two-week period.

Numbers were largely affected by the tax credit, according to Thomas, who said that the program spurred many buyers to act quickly and purchase sooner than they had originally planned.

“Had the credit not been in place,” he said, “demand would have been curtailed in both March and especially April. Demand in May and June would have been stronger as well. March and April’s surge due to the housing credit robbed May and June of normal activity.”

But, demand is expected to be “back on track” by July, according to Thomas.

It currently takes about 3.2 months to sell a home in Orange County, up from just under three months in the prior two-week period. It takes about 2.7 months to sell homes priced under the $1 million mark, which Thomas called “very hot.”

On the other hand, it takes about 8.9 months to sell a home priced above $1 million.

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