Credit Suisse is "a world-leading financial services company, advising clients in all aspects of finance, around the world, around the clock."
They also have been conducting their own monthly surveys of real estate agents in the US because they believe that "agents will provide an accurate assessment of housing market trandes in both the new and existing home markets."
Each month I get a survey asking 5 main questions which they then compile the answers with others all over the US and calculate an index for the answers. 50 is their median with numbers above 50 being a positive or improving trend and below being negative.
The questions are:
- Are traffic levels in line with, above, or below your expectations for this time of year?
- Have prices remained the same, increased, or decresed over the past 30 days?
- Have incentives remained the same, increased, or decreased over the past 30 days?
- Do you see the same, more, or fewer listings as compared with 30 days ago?
- Does it take the same, more, or less time to sell a house?
Here are some selected results (it's a long list of cities & data) with comments from area agents.
Atlanta, Georgia: Traffic slows as buyers feel bottom is still a ways off; home prices slice.Atlanta is the 3rd largest homebuilding market in the country.
Comments from Atlanta real estate agents:
- "Most buyer prospects are first time buyers. They have not suffered equity losses and are more forward looking. buyers of second or third time purchase are more relectant to make a buying decision."
- "Buyers are mainly going for low priced foreclosures."
Charlotte, North Carolina: Traffic deteriorates reflecting continued fallout in the financial services sector. Charlotte is the 9th largest market in the country.
Buyer traffic deteriorates as unemployment creeps higher. Buyer traffic levels fell in February, again coming in below agents' expecations, with buyer traffic index decreasing to 19 in February compated to 23 in January.
Comments from Charlotte real estate agents:
- "There remains a big disconnect between buyers and sellers. Sellers are not willing to sell at lower prices and buyers are not willing to buy at sellers current prices. Every buyer wants the deal of a century and sellers are simply not willing to sell at that price level."
- "There have been an incrase in first time homebuyer traffic, but most are cautious because of worries over job security."
Dallas, Texas: Tough economy, lending requirements, pressure traffic, and prices.
Traffic slips as employment fears outweigh improved affordability. Our traffic index posted a modest decline in February, falling fto 36 from 43 in January, incidcating worsening traffic levels over the past 30 days and gain at levels below agents' expectations.
Comments from Dallas, Texas real estate agents:
- "People are taking their houses off the market and are afraid to buy new houses with larger mortgages."
- "Low interst rates are perking buyer interest"
And the other comments and numbers are pretty much the same from the other cities. Lack of consumer confidence in the economy, fear of unemployment, and a lack of confidence in the massive federal bailout plan along with tighter lending standards all combine to continue to drive housing prices lower in most area and stall sales.