Realtors Expect Home Sales to Grow Slowly, Soar in '92

By Cunniff, John | THE JOURNAL RECORD, May 24, 1991 | Go to article overview

Realtors Expect Home Sales to Grow Slowly, Soar in '92


Cunniff, John, THE JOURNAL RECORD


The outlook from Realtors is remark- ably optimistic in view of the recent pummeling they took from recession and economic uncertainty and in some areas from overbuilding and overpricing. All that is in the past, according to the official forecast by economists of the National Association of Realtors, who foresees sales of new and existing homes growing slowly for the rest of the year and then soaring in 1992. That outlook is more stunning when contrasted with the realtors' assessment that the overall economy isn't likely to emerge from the current recession with the explosiveness of some postwar recoveries. Optimism for housing markets may be justified, the economists said, by a gradual lowering of inflation rates, favorable financing conditions, growing consumer confidence and pent-up& demand. They said higher prices for both existing and new single-family houses would accompany the upturn, with strongest appreciation coming in 1992, when prices in both categories are expected to exceed 5 percent. In projecting a stronger market for housing than for many other goods, the realtors have history on their side. Historically, housing markets have led the way into and out of recessions and have experienced more marked effects. This year and next will continue that trend, they said, with housing stronger than much of the economy. The eco- nomists, Robert Barr and Kimberly Martin, phrased their forecast in these words: "The recovery will steal upon the stage quietly, while attention remains fixed on the cacophony of the departing recession. "And as the various sectors of the economy respond to improved economic health, the upswing will take some time to be recognized. …

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