Three Key Rules for Today's Housing Market

Some recent reports on the real estate market show home prices starting to stabilize in many areas. Other data suggests the housing market has further to fall. But whichever direction the national numbers are heading, there are few tenets that smart buyers and sellers should always follow.

November Home Sales Take Small Step Forward

The U.S. housing sector remained in a slow, but uncertain recovery in November, as existing-home sales increased a less-than-expected 5.6% last month, to a 4.68-million-unit annual rate. Although home sales rose in every U.S. region, and inventories fell, strong job growth will be needed to increase the sales pace in 2011 and prevent tepid home prices from re-trenching in the quarters ahead.

Housing 2011: Unsettled, Underwater, Unsold

Housing market watchers got a bit of good news Thursday: Sales agreements for previously occupied homes rose 10.4 % in October. But that was one spark of hope against a backdrop of declining prices, bulging inventories and ongoing legal issues around foreclosures. A real estate recovery in 2011? Don't count on it.

Pending Home Sales Rebound Strongly

Aided by an improving job market and comparatively low mortgage rates, U.S. pending home sales surged a record 10.4% in October. Still, despite the good news, the latest new and existing home sales reports suggest a sluggish, uneven U.S. housing sector recovery, at least into early 2011.

Existing-Home Sales Slid 2.2% in October

Sales of existing homes were hit with their first monthly decline since July as October sales fell 2.2% to a seasonally adjusted 4.43 million-unit annual rate. However, the drop isn't too surprising, given the usual seasonal cooling of home sales in the fall.

Pending Home Sales Drop Points to Uneven Recovery

Pending home sales in the U.S. unexpectedly fell 1.8% in September, the National Association of Realtors reported Friday. It was the statistic's first decline in three months, and one that suggests that the housing sector's recovery is likely to remain uneven through at least early 2011.

Pending Sales for U.S. Homes Fell 2.6% in June

The U.S. housing market suffered another modest setback in June as pending sales of homes fell 2.6%, but less than the 3.7% consensus estimate. Still, pending sales are now 18.6% lower than the June 2009 figure.

Home Buyer Credit Needed? Sales Fall Less Than Feared

Existing-home sales fell a less-than-predicted 5.1% in June to a 5.37-million-unit annual rate, as the number of people looking for houses declined after the federal home buyers tax credit ended this spring. Though the tax credit boosted sales, Congress appears unlikely to renew it.

Existing Home Sales Plunged 16.7% in December

The nearly year-long, positive trend in the U.S. housing sector ended 2009 on a sour note, the National Association of Realtors says. Inventories also went in the wrong direction, as existing homes rose to a 7.2-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 6.5 months in November.

A Drop for Pending Home Sales

The housing market suffered a setback on Tuesday as sales of pending homes plunged 16% in November, according to the National Association of Realtors. Buying dropped off substantially as the Nov. 30 expiration date for the original first-time homebuyers tax credit approached. Pending home sales tumbled in nearly every region. They plummeted 25.7% in the Northeast and Midwest, dropped 15% in the South, but dipped just 2.7% in the West.

Pending home sales surge in April

Make it three for three for pending home sales. Sales of pending homes -- sales contracts people have signed for existing homes -- unexpectedly...