Housing Picture Expected to Brighten in 2012

Housing Picture Expected to Brighten in 2012

Better times are ahead for the real estate market in the new year, according to several forecasts and recent surveys.

Fiserv, a financial information services firm, predicts that 95 percent of the 384 metro areas it tracks will see prices rise in 2012. 

Many surveys and economists are forecasting a very modest increase for the housing market in the new year, but after several years of dropping prices and rising foreclosures, even the slightest increase would signal a glimmer of hope for the market. In a survey by MacroMarkets of 100 economists and real estate professionals, respondents reported home values will likely rise slightly at 0.25 percent in the new year. 

The real estate market still faces a large backlog of foreclosures that it must work through in many markets. As such, price gains through 2015 will likely just be around 1.1 percent, according to the survey. However, this is a reversal after a forecast of 2.8 percent decline in median home values for this year. 

Foreclosures continue to weigh on many markets and are preventing home values from stabilizing, economists say. 

"The water is very deep in the living room, but it's no longer getting deeper and is starting to recede,” says Mark Fleming, CoreLogic's chief economist. 

Low interest rates on mortgages mixed with more affordable housing for families in the median income range are expected help the market in its rebound in 2012, economists say.  

Source: “A Smaller House Will Make a Big Difference,” Money Magazine (Nov. 14, 2011)

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