A recent report from the National Association of Realtors shows that existing home sales dipped slightly in February, partially due to winter storms.
Existing home sales went down 0.6 percent across the nation. At an annual rate, existing home sales were reported at 5.02 million for February, compared to the 5.05 million reported during the first month of the year.
Though sales were down on a month-to-month basis, they were still up 7 percent when compared to levels seen in February 2008. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR, said that the decline in February was partially attributable to the rough weather seen in a number of areas in the country.
And though sales were up on a year-to-year basis and housing prices appear to be stabilizing, Yun said that a recovery in the industry is still "fragile at the moment."
One key may be a government tax credit that gives first time homebuyers up to $8,000 for the purchase of a property. The credit can also be received by repeat purchasers, though the cap on it is $6,500.
In order to take advantage of the credit, consumers must come to an agreement on a home purchase by April 30 and close by the end of June.
"If we see a surge in home buying comparable to last fall in the months leading up to the original tax credit deadline, then enough inventory should be absorbed to ensure a broad home price stabilization," Yun said.
Another factor that could play into the housing recovery is how mortgage rates react to the end of a Federal Reserve Board program that purchased mortgage-backed securities. The end of that effort comes as March closes, with some analysts thinking it will lead to an increased in home loan rates.