Housing sales decline first time since March

By Oregon Association of Nurseries,

There’s disappointing news for nurseries selling primarily to the landscape trade. Sales of new homes went down in September, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. There are several reasons this could be viewed in a positive or negative light:

* Positive: It was the first decline since March.
* Negative: But, sales were down 7.8 percent from September 2008.
* Positive: The market is up 22 percent from its lowest point in January.
* Negative: It’s down a whopping 70 percent from its peak in January 2005.
* Positive: In September there was a supply of 251,000 new homes, which is a 17-year low. A low inventory is good news for those hoping for construction to resume once market demand recovers.
* Negative: As low as inventory is, it’s still a 7.5 month supply of new homes under the current market conditions.

The major question now is whether Congress and the president will renew the first-time homebuyer incentives that some say are responsible for jacking up home sales this year (even as low as they are). The National Association of Home Builders has been lobbying for such a move. Without action, the tax credit expires Nov. 30.

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