Chart of the Day: A Year Later, Home Sales Remain Near Post-Buyer Credit Lows

A little over a year ago, the home buyer credit expired and home sales collapsed. They were relatively weak in the first part of 2010, even with the credit. But once that extra government incentive disappeared, sales plummeted to levels not seen since the 1990s. At the time, the sales were expected to pause for just a few months, and then resume at a brisker rate. A year later, sales remain very, very low.

This can be seen quite clearly by the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers' Association Index of mortgage applications for home purchases. Here's what its index looks like since 1990:

mba purchase app chart 2011-06.png

The green line represents the current index value.

I left off the actual numbers, per the MBA's request, so I just show the trend. But I can provide some perspective. As of the week ending June 3rd, the index was just 12% higher than it was as of July 9, 2010 -- when it hit a 13-year low. As you can see from the green line, it's currently hovering at 1997 levels.

Last week, the index was also 69% lower than it was when it hit its all-time high in mid-2005. Put another way, for every 10 applications for purchase mortgage bankers received then, now they only get three. You can see how consistent this current low level of purchase applications has been. They have risen a little bit from a year earlier, but only a little. Home buying demand remains very anemic.

Presented by

Daniel Indiviglio was an associate editor at The Atlantic from 2009 through 2011. He is now the Washington, D.C.-based columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He is also a 2011 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow through the Phillips Foundation. More

Indiviglio has also written for Forbes. Prior to becoming a journalist, he spent several years working as an investment banker and a consultant.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Business

Just In