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    Economic recovery looks to be on track through the first month of 2011

    According to MSNBC.com, the economic recovery showed signs that it had staying power as the new year began in January.  Home sales surged at the end of 2010 and weekly jobless claims posted their biggest decline in almost a year.

    Existing home sales soared 12.3% to an annual rate of 5.28 million units in December, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.  This figure did much better than the forecasted 4.85 million units.

    The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits dropped sharply to 404,000 from a revised reading of 441,000 in the middle of January.  The trend over the last three months has been downward and the pace of layoffs is lower.  However, hirings are still moving at a slow pace.

    The housing market remains under heavy pressure, despite higher sales at the end of 2010.  Home prices have been depressed by a record number of foreclosures and high unemployment.  Many potential buyers held off purchasing last year due to their fear that prices have not bottomed out yet.

    Once we enter the warmer months, mainly March through June, we will have a much more clear picture of the direction of the housing market.

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