Government support in the national and Palo Alto real estate sectors is slowly being pulled back. For instance, the federal homebuyer’s tax credit expires this month and the Fed stopped purchasing mortgage-backed securities in March. These two changes in financial backing for the housing market are causing worry because people fear the expiring tax credit will cause a dramatic drop in sales.
An important question right now is how much did the government support really help the national and Palo Alto real estate markets and the economy?
Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist for Barclays Capital (New York) and one of the most accurate economic forecasters for the past 20 years, says the U.S. economy is on the rise. Many economists share Maki’s view: We’re at the bottom and there’s no place left to go but up.
The Fed Stops Buying Mortgage-Backed Securities
The largest hurdle for the real estate market came at the end of March, as the Fed finished buying up $1.25 trillion worth of mortgage-backed securities and taking care of housing-agency debt to the tune of $175 billion. However, strategists and economists conclude that the change won’t have a lot of impact; the central bank will be replaced by private demand.
The Expiration of the Homebuyers Tax Credit
The second largest hurdle, the expiration of the homebuyers’ tax credit, might have a bigger impact if it had brought a huge sales increase. It didn’t, however, and the belief is that things will slowly improve with – or without – the credit. Although vacant housing rose to 2.09 million by the end of 2009 and foreclosures are expected to hit around 2.2 million this year, the number of new households may reach as high as 1.25 million.
The Good News
Of the potential 1.25 million new households, almost 1 million are currently living with family members. With home sales gradually improving, economists predict that even a slight improvement in the job market will bring those 1 million households out of the woodwork to find a home. When this happens, the excess housing supply will quickly disappear.
If you’ve been stuck, waiting to sell your Palo Alto real estate, your home is part of the housing supply. With the housing market slowly improving, you may very well end up coming out on top within the next three to six months.
If you’d like to sell your home, or buy a new home, I can help. Call me at 650-454-8568 or email for more information.