US housing market in 2015? Meh

No clear signs of major breakout or slowdown for the coming year
January 02, 2015 01:18PM

The U.S. housing market did not give the lift to the economy in 2014 that analysts predicted.

That trend may continue this year, as signs do not point to a breakout or a drop off, the Wall Street Journal reported. While 2014 started off slowly, new data show that contracts signed to buy previously owned homes climbed to the third highest level of the past year, according to the information cited by the newspaper.

Pending home sales in November — those that entered contract but had not closed — rose 0.8 percent from October and 4.1 percent from the same time a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors’s index cited by the newspaper. That marks the largest year-over-year gain since August 2013.

Overall, however, the housing market did not meet expectations as buyers complained about the quality of inventory, which contributed to a slowdown in demand. Sales of pre-owned homes were about 4 percent lower through the first 11 months of 2014 than during the same time a year earlier. Sales rose through the middle of the year in 2014, from 4.59 million in March to 5.25 million in October. In November, home sales dropped to 4.93 million, a 6 percent decline.

“The market overpriced itself this year, and buyers are very price sensitive right now,” Glenn Kelman, chief executive of real-estate brokerage Redfin, told the newspaper. [WSJ] — Claire Moses