- Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Sales of previously owned homes in the U.S. unexpectedly rose from a record low, propelled by the biggest slump in prices since the Great Depression as foreclosures surged.
The second part of the news story got lots of ink. The first part, which is just as important, got very little ink. Yes prices are falling, and we are still immersed in a real estate correction, but just as certainly are the bargain hunters now in the game. Last month there were 4.74 million previously-owned homes sold in the US, up 6.5% from the same month a year ago. In addition, the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators also rose modestly. The first rise in six months.
The real estate market will not turn in a made-for-prime-time, high-definition broadcast captured by old news and new news alike. It will turn in a ragged, ugly, halting manner, but it will ultimately turn. It's good news that more houses are are beginning to sell around the country, even if prices are still falling. There is life in the housing market. The oversupply of housing has driven prices down to meet demand. In a few months, the government will announce that prices have stopped falling. That will be a happy day for all of us. My prayer is that Timothy Geithner plays a big role in causing that good day to come swiftly.