With more than 1,000,000 members the National Association of Realtors® is the nation’s largest trade association. It’s no wonder that what it says carries a lot of weight. When a gargantuan outfit like NAR makes a prediction, its words may not always make headlines, but they do influence everyone whose job it is to forecast the future of the nation’s economic activity.
That’s why their most recent report dealing with pending home sales put smiles on many of those one million members’ faces.
“The spring home buying season looks bright,” according to Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “If activity is sustained near present levels, existing-home sales will see their best performance in five years.”
Like all statistics, those he was describing can be looked at in more than one way. We know that some numbers are more reliable than others. This particular index is based on an unusually large sample: about 20% of all transactions for existing home sales. It’s a forward-looking indicator: in the past, it has signaled coming trends before they materialize. This index seldom produces a straight line of activity because of seasonal and monthly ups and downs, but this time a trend is evident that is “notably above the pattern from a year ago.”
Our Santa Barbara and Montecito home sales patterns are not invariably tied to national trends -- but they aren’t impervious to them, either. So we are pleased when our own impression that the spring market is looking up is borne out by the experts who deal in the broader picture. “Based on all of the factors in the current market,” Yun went on, he expects to see “sales rising 7 to 10 percent in 2012.”