Don’t be too impressed by today’s Census Bureau report that new home sales in March rose 13.8% from February. First of all, these numbers fluctuate wildly. Sales had fallen 10.9% in February, so this increase just puts us back on trend. Second, if it’s price you care about, the market looks considerably weaker. The median price of new homes sold in March, $224,200, was down 2.2% from a year earlier, the worst yearly performance since January 2003.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.