Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Pending Home Sales Report for July showing a slight increase with the seasonally adjusted national index climbing 5.2% since June but remaining a whopping 19.1% below the level seen in July 2009.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis the national index as well as all regional measures declined significantly with the national index falling 7.2% since June and 20.1% since July 2009.
It's fairly clear from these results that one of the untended consequence of the government's intrusion into the housing market has been to shift home sales from the future into the period preceding the tax gimmick expiration leaving the future with less potential demand.
It's important to note that with the government's tax scam now complete and little chance for similar meddling for the foreseeable future, the weaker "organic" trends have likely taken over.
Meanwhile, the NARs chief economist Lawrence Yun suggests the "recovery" will be slow adding a sweet little tidbit that might have been a bit more helpful a few years back concerning the outlook for housing over the next decade or so.
"Home sales will remain soft in the months ahead, but improved affordability conditions should help with a recovery, ... But the recovery looks to be a long process. Home buyers over the past year got a great deal, and buyers for the balance of this year have an edge over sellers. For those who bought at or near the peak several years ago, particularly in markets experiencing big bubbles, it may take over a decade to fully recover lost equity."
Over a decade!! Thanks Lawrence... Great timing on that bit of outlook.
The following chart shows the national pending home sales index along with the percent change on a year-over-year basis as well as the percent change from the peak set in 2005 (click for larger version).