INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE... Last week gave us more evidence that this housing recovery, though growing slowly, will in fact endure. According to a major online real estate portal, listing inventory rose 3.5% from January to March. This beat the gains going into the 2012 Spring selling season, although inventories are still 15% off last year's levels, with only nine of 146 metros showing annual increases. Not surprisingly, the median age of inventory in March dipped to 78 days, down 12.3% from last year, and median asking prices were up 0.5% from February, gaining in 29 of the top 30 metro areas.
According to a housing consultancy, land
values are up 13% on
average over last year, their
first annual rise since 2005. The increasing demand from builders for finished lots is driving the gain, as the rate of new home construction is up
27.7% the past year. Higher
land values will mean higher prices for new homes, as land cost makes
up 21.7% of the final sale price, according to the National Association
of Home Builders. Finally, a
first quarter survey of lenders reported that 71% are more confident about home prices,
believing they're rising at a "sustainable pace."