It’s hard to know what to believe in the housing market today, with so many conflicting data reports, some analysts claiming the market has hit bottom, and others seeing further doom.
The home builders themselves can’t seem to find anything to be optimistic about; their sentiment index has been stuck at the same lackluster level for four straight months.
It’s not as hard, however, to believe in housing. By that I mean that as the economy improves, and consumers start to feel better about their personal finances, they are starting to think about investing in their homes again.
Too much price uncertainty in the market turns them off trading up, so they are looking around their current home instead.
Yesterday I met with an architect in suburban DC who says that in just the past two months the phone has been ringing off the hook.
“It’s ringing with people saying, you know I want the $200,000 addition, which is the family room/kitchen or I can afford my screen porch now,” says Michael Bruckwick of Katinas Bruckwick Architecture.
Just last year, clients told Bruckwick a very different story.
“Their biggest concerns was simply where is the world going ? The world that we live in. Is it to continue going down?”
And it’s not just in the DC area, which has the benefit of lower unemployment thanks to government jobs. A remodeling index from Texas-based BuildFax shows a national surge in remodeling work toward the end of the year, which appears to be continuing now. It’s returning, but cautiously.