Forbes magazine publishes many interesting articles every month, but one real estate article is particularly interesting to look at. House hunting web site Trulia offers Forbes monthly insight into the statistics they measure and interprets what they mean using their “housing barometer”.
Each month Trulia’s Housing Barometer charts how quickly the housing market is moving back to “normal.” In this case, “normal” means pre-bubble levels.
In determining how close to normal things are, Trulia considers three key housing market indicators:
construction starts (which are gathered from Census)
existing home sales (gathered from the National Association of Realtors)
the delinquency-plus-foreclosure rate (gathered from LPS First Look)
For each indicator, Trulia compares the current month’s data to how bad the numbers got at their worst and their pre-bubble “normal” levels.
While it’s not necessarilly an accurate portrayal of what is happening in your exact neighborhood’s housing market, it’s a fun, informative piece, with great graphics and does a nice job of showing overall trends.
This month, Trulia reported, “In September 2012, construction starts surged. However, existing home sales fell slightly, and the delinquency + foreclosure rate unexpectedly jumped.” Trulia concluded the “housing market is now 43% of the way back to normal – compared with 42% in August and 24% in September 2011. For the second month in a row, the Housing Barometer is at a post-crisis high.” You can read more of their September results here.