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Real estate market: Worse than expected?

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Real estate professionals are contending with a bearish housing market following the expiration of the federal homebuyer tax credits, according to a webcast by real estate data company Altos Research. In a previous webcast at the end of the first quarter, the company pointed out that the market wasn't seeing the usual springtime bounce in home prices in March compared to last year and inventory was rising at a worrying pace -- signaling that the beginning of 2011 could look a lot like 2009. After the second quarter and into the third, the company said the housing market is worse than most real estate professionals might think. "Spring housing prices already hit peak in July and are trending down. Inventory is climbing and climbing pretty quickly," said Scott Sambucci, the company's vice president of data analytics. Raw inventory in Altos' 20-city composite, which includes the same 20 cities in the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, was rising past 575,000 units at the end of Jul...