MLR

Report: New home sales could double in 2013

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New housing inventory is at a 50-year low, but new home sales are up 20 percent nationwide and could nearly double last year’s sales, according to the latest economic forecast by the National Association of Realtors.

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New home sales are projected to surpass 630,000 nationwide in 2013, compared to 300,000 in 2011 and 390,000 in 2012. During the peak bubble year of 2005, new sales hit 1.2 million.

Existing home sales have risen about 10 percent, according to the August 2012 NAR report, with 4.6 million in sales projected for 2012 and 5 million for 2013.

Shadow inventory – distressed properties not yet on the market – is over 3 million homes, but there are 1 million fewer distressed properties than a year ago.

As available inventory has begun to decline, the NAR report said one issue that may hold back some new construction is the difficulty many small homebuilders may have getting construction loans.

The price of homes nationwide has begun to stabilize and is increasing at the national level, the report said. Nationally, prices are expected to rise 4 percent in 2012, and by 5 percent in 2013, with some markets, such as Phoenix, rising as much as 10-15 percent.

For 2012, the median home price nationwide is $173,000, with the forecast for 2013 at $182,000.