What’s ahead in the spring home-buying season

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‘A Gloomy Outlook for Home Sales’ Big Season’ from the New York Times on Friday caught my attention after I’d hit the delete key on several e-mails basically touting ways to ‘prepare your home to sell for top dollar in the coming home-buying season.’ They seemed awfully out of touch with the current state of affairs, but then again, ‘top dollar’ is relative. Here’s a read on what’s ahead from the N.Y. Times story:

The “For Sale” signs are just starting to sprout, but already experts worry that this spring home-buying season will be even grimmer than the last. Despite tentative signs of recovery in hard-hit areas like California and Florida, the broader housing market is far from reaching bottom, economists say. Across much of the nation, prices are likely to keep falling into 2010. So this March-to-June season, when most homes are bought and sold, will be bad, perhaps the worst since the market began to spiral down in 2006. Across the nation, 19 million houses and apartments — nearly one out of every seven — are vacant, the highest percentage since the 1960s. But only about six million of those homes are for sale or for rent. That means millions more could still flood onto the market, depressing prices further.


If 19 million houses and apartments are sitting empty, where did all those people go? Where do they live now? It must be some combination of doubling or tripling up with family members, joining the ranks of the homeless or having left the country, but that number seems staggering. I digress. There will be home buying activity, particularly in the Inland Empire, as banks try to unload foreclosed homes on their books.

-- Lauren Beale

Thoughts? Comments?