Significant sales gains in Florida and California, according to the National Association of Realtors, are possibly early indicators of a move up from the bottom of the burst housing bubble, possibly urged on by pent-up demand for homes. Although the Pending Home Sales Index was lower than the year-earlier period, it was lower by a lot less than expected — and it was actually up in some geographic regions of the country.
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun expects a continued contraction of GDP for the first half of 2009, followed by a resumption of growth in the second half of 2009, powered by a pickup in home sales. For more detail see http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2008/phs_holding_in_stable_range, or commentary by Ron Haruni at http://seekingalpha.com/article/109970-october-pending-home-sales-better-than-expected?source=feed.
Of course all eyes are focused on the various arms of TARP, the newly activist FDIC and quasi-governmental Fannie/Freddie. But it may be worthwhile to focus as well on some of the private-sector entrepreneurs, such as Liberty Capital Asset Management, which is working quietly in the Rust Belt to save working-class homeowners from foreclosure — and succeeding. Check LCPM on Nasdaq, but there is not a lot of information available yet, due to recent reverse merger into a public shell. The company’s website is www.libcapital.com.