The question for today is whether or not this is going to continue through the remainder of 2008. Will sales remain robust, fall a bit, or fall a lot in the next 4 months?
Anyone who purports to have an exact answer to that question is trying to sell you swamp land. There are a ludicrous number of uncertainties swirling in the marketplace, perhaps historically so, which prevent anyone from being able to gauge with a high level of certainty where the housing market is headed in the near-term future.
For good measure, here is a list of all the current questions the housing market must contend with:
- How much impact has the sunsetting of the FHA seller-funded downpayment assistance program had on "last call" buyers? In other words, how much of the recent upswing is due to home buyers trying to take advantage of the waning days of The Last Zero-Down Loan Program Available? We should reasonably expect there to be some level of decline in sales when the program finally disappears on October 1st, but the question is how much.
- Are buyers taking advantage of the new $7,500 homebuyer tax credit? How many? Will the benefits of that program help pull in extra buyers this fall?
- Then there's that small little matter of The Economic Hiccup, and now the impending bailout of Wall Street. Needless to say, this has got consumers and investors a little shook. Consumer psychology will undoubtedly trend towards conservatism in the months ahead, as people look to protect their nest eggs rather than risk them. You better believe this will have some effect on whether or not first-time home buyers take the plunge into home ownership.
- Will the tumbling finance sector cause mortgage standards to tighten even further? There's some who say that's proved to be more myth than truth so far, but who knows what the future may bring if banks continue to pile on heavy losses.
All of this is simply to say that the crystal ball on Twin Cities home sales this fall is decidedly cloudy at the moment. Feel free to share your opinion on whether or not sales will continue their nice little streak in the comments section.