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March 2010
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In This Issue:

Feature image Mixed Messages
Yes, the economy grew in the 4th quarter of 2009 – that is indeed good news. But some of the other economic indicators were not as comforting, especially those for housing and employment. After registering a significant rise in November, existing-home sales were down in December and in January – in part due to seasonal weather issues. New home sales fared even worse. And while the unemployment rate was steady at 9.7%, the economy lost 36,000 jobs in February. What do all the mixed messages mean? In his Commentary this month, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun looks at those signs and gives us a look at what we could be facing going forward.
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Commercial Trends: the Office Market
Commercial real estate generally lags the economy at large as well as developments in residential real estate. In this month’s Market Intelligence column, NAR Research’s George Ratiu takes a closer look at trends in the office market and how general economic conditions inform demand for office space.
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Foreclosing on 2009, Part Two: Shadow Inventory
In last month’s issue of Real Estate Insights, we looked at recent trends in foreclosures. This month, we examine the so-called “shadow” inventory – the potential for future foreclosures. Check out the In Focus column from NAR Research Economist Selma Lewis.
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New feature: Using NAR Research
As most readers of Real Estate Insights are aware, NAR Research produces a plethora of information about housing, home buyer and seller behavioral trends, and housing market statistics. So how can a real estate professional actually use that information to help their clients in marketing their homes? In our premiere edition of Using NAR Research, Jessica Lautz presents ways in which REALTORS® can utilize data from the NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.
Pending Home Sales
NAR’s pending home sales index dipped 7.6% in January to a reading of 90.4, although the month’s index was 12.3% higher than in January of 2009. December’s index was revised upward to 97.8. All regions of the country posted year over year increases in pending home sales. NAR analysts expect bad weather encountered in most areas of the country during late January and February to impact home sales in the next several months. The abnormally severe and prolonged winter weather hampered shopping activity in February. Consequently, look for weak near-term sales followed by a likely surge of existing-home sales in April, May and June.
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