Tuesday, October 11, 2005

More Signs of the Slowdown

From Reuters reporters Marty Graham and Jim Christie in San Diego:
On a rolling San Diego street, where home prices have doubled in three years, real estate agent Shawn Ommid kept a quiet vigil, chocolate chip cookies at the ready, waiting for buyers.

By Sunday afternoon, the cookies remained plentiful and prospects were scarce, with few turning up to tour a two-story tract house in a neighborhood known for its striking canyon views and equally stunning home prices of around $800,000.

"It's a shame because it's better to be a buyer now," said Ommid, citing a rise in San Diego home listings.

It is a scene that is playing out across some of the hottest property markets from California to Florida.

Inventories of unsold homes are rising, buyers are turning cautious, and, in some cases, prices are slipping after a period of explosive gains, analysts and real estate agents said.

That could be a sign that the broader U.S. housing market, which has been an engine of economic expansion, is beginning to sputter. The slowdown could dampen consumer spending and ripple through financial markets.

Other danger signs include the pinch buyers are facing from rising interest rates and record home prices, said economist Alan Gin of the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate at the University of San Diego.
Read the entire story at this link.

— The Boy in the Big Housing Bubble