Magazine article American Banker

Housing Slump Slows Real Estate Recovery; Higher Rates Blamed

Magazine article American Banker

Housing Slump Slows Real Estate Recovery; Higher Rates Blamed

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- A slow-down in the housing market over the past three months has slowed the real estate market's recovery, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Tuesday.

"The vigorous rebound in housing has slowed somewhat nationwide in recent months," the FDIC's latest survey of examiners and liquidators found. However, commercial real estate continued to gather steam.

The FDIC examines real estate conditions every three months by polling approximately 450 market experts from federal bank and thrift regulatory agencies. A composite score is then compiled that covers the whole country and reflects both housing and commercial real estate markets.

The national composite score slipped from the record 78 in April to 72.

The drop was attributed mainly to weaker assessments of housing market conditions; the residential index tumbled 11 points to 71 over the past three months. In contrast, the commercial real estate market continued to hold firm, ebbing only one point to 72.

Any index value over 50 indicates that more bank examiners and asset managers thought conditions were improving rather than declining. The higher the index is above 50, the more examiners agree about recent market developments.

FDIC researchers blamed rising interest rates for the housing market's downturn.

"While a strong housing recovery is still reported by our experts in the field, the pace of the recovery slowed, most likely due to the dampening effect of rising interest rates," said James L. Freund, the FDIC researcher in charge of the agency's survey.

Seven percent of respondents saw worsening conditions in residential real estate markets. That's more than double the number who saw weaker housing markets in the last survey, the FDIC said.

Only 40% of respondents reported home sales as above average, compared with 51% three months ago. …

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