Tax credit's second coming: no miracles

Perspective: Real estate's April report card

Sales boomed last fall as the homebuyer tax credit’s original expiration approached in November. With a new tax-credit deadline approaching, sales have improved this spring, but not nearly as much.

The pending home sales index through February, which is shown here, shows the slight improvement over January, but is nowhere near as robust as last fall. Our proprietary monthly survey and our weekly calls to our homebuilding clients have confirmed that March and April were not good months. Not only do sales remain low, but also the traffic of interested shoppers is not improving.