Our good friends at the NAR (National Association of Realtors) have just released their latest forecast for 2006.
Although they keep talking of the market "leveling off" and "returning to normal", let's take a look at their forecasts from the past 12 months, starting in October of last year. These are verbatim from their press releases:
October 28th, 2005
Existing-home sales are projected to decline 3.5 percent in 2006 to 6.86 million. New-home sales, seen to grow by 8.0 percent to 1.30 million in 2005, are expected to fall 4.5 percent to 1.24 million next year. The figures for 2006 would be the second highest year for each sector.
December 12th, 2005
Existing-home sales are likely to decline 3.7 percent in 2006 to 6.84 million. New-home sales, projected to increase 7.0 percent to 1.29 million this year, are forecast to drop 4.8 percent to 1.23 million in 2006 - also the second best on record.
January 10th, 2006
Existing-home sales are forecast to ease by 4.4 percent to 6.79 million this year, which would be the second highest on record. New-home sales, which should be a record 1.29 million for 2005, are expected to decline 6.0 percent to 1.21 million in 2006 - that also would be the second best year in history.
Editor's note: SUDDENLY in February, the NAR figures 2006 will not be the 2nd best year, but merely the THIRD best year, ever.....
February 7th, 2006
Existing-home sales are likely to decline 4.7 percent to 6.74 million this year, down from a record 7.07 million units in 2005, while new-home sales are expected to fall 8.5 percent to 1.17 million from a record 1.28 million in 2005; both sectors would see their third best year after the totals for 2005 and 2004. Housing starts are seen at 1.87 million units in 2006, down 9.3 percent from 2.06 million last year.
March 13, 2006
Existing-home sales are expected to fall 5.7 percent to 6.67 million in 2006 from
the record 7.08 million last year. At the same time, new-home sales are forecast to decline 7.7 percent to 1.18 million from a record 1.28 million in 2005 - each sector would be at the third highest year following the tallies for 2005 and 2004. Housing starts are likely to total 1.98 million this year, down 4.3 percent from 2.06 million in 2005.
April 11th, 2006
Existing-home sales are projected to drop 6.0 percent to 6.65 million this year from a record 7.08 million in 2005. New-home sales are likely fall 10.9 percent to 1.14 million from the record 1.28 million last year - both sectors would see the third best year following 2005 and 2004. Housing starts are forecast at 2.00 million in 2006, which is 3.2 percent below the 2.07 million in total starts last year.
May 9th, 2006
Existing-home sales are likely to fall 6.4 percent to 6.62 million in 2006 from a record 7.08 million last year. New-home sales are projected to drop 11.6 percent to 1.13 million from last year’s record of 1.28 million. Housing starts should decline 3.7 percent to 1.99 million this year compared with 2.07 million in 2005.
July 11th, 2006
Existing-home sales are expected to decline 6.7 percent to 6.60 million in 2006 from 7.08 million last year. That would still be the third highest level on record. New-home sales should fall 12.8 percent this year to 1.12 million from 1.28 million in 2005. Housing starts are forecast to decline 6.8 percent to 1.93 million this year from 2.07 million in 2005.
August 9, 2006
Existing-home sales are forecast to fall 6.5 percent to 6.61 million this year, the third highest on record after 2005 and 2004. New-home sales are projected to drop 12.8 percent in 2006 to 1.12 million, also the third best on record. Housing starts should be down 9.1 percent to 1.88 million this year.
Editor's note: UH-OH!!! In the space of a year, the NAR's forecast for New Home sales in 2006 has gone from 2nd best year to...fourth???.....something tells me existing homes will also drop to #4 (or lower) by the end of the year.
Sept 7, 2006
Existing-home sales are forecast to fall 7.6 percent to 6.54 million in 2006, the third best year after consecutive records in 2004 and 2005. New-home sales should to drop 16.1 percent this year to 1.08 million, the fourth highest on record. Housing starts are projected to decline 9.6 percent to 1.87 million in 2006.
So, after reading their forecasts, what do you think is going to happen in 2007?
And really, take my word for it: if you don't ABSOLUTELY have to buy a house in the next 2-3 years, don't do it. The values are dropping, and they're going to continue to drop. Stay where you are, or rent. You'll save yourself (and your family) 10's of thousands of dollars.