Brave Home Buyers – And Other Consumers

Consumer confidence is surging, investment fear is subsiding, and brave buyers are wading back into the existing home market.

On Wednesday the National Association of Realtors said that sales of existing homes rose 2.9 percent. The annual rate now stands at 4.68 million homes, up from the 4.55 million annualized rate in March.

The results were higher than most economists’ had forecast.

Continued low home prices and historically low interest rates continue to attract investors and owner-occupied buyers. First time home buyers are continuing to enjoy an $8,000 tax credit from the stimulus package passed earlier this year.

In related retail market reporting, the recent consumer confidence surges are also translating to retail strength. On Wednesday the ICSC-Goldman report showed strong sales in the week ending May 23. Same-store sales were up 0.8 percent in that week with year-on-year sales up 0.5 percent — both readings were two of the best weekly jumps of the year.

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