SAN DIEGO -- David Lereah, senior vice president and chief economist for the National Association of Realtors told ACUMA attendees meeting here on April 2 that "the worst is over in housing," and "housing affordability is improving," advising credit union mortgage lenders that "opportunities arise when there are crises." The American Credit Union Mortgage Association's 2007 annual conference, held at the Marriott Coronado Island Resort, April 1-4, brought some 180 CU mortgage specialists together. They heard Lereah and other speakers advise that the CU share of the US mortgage portfolio can and should break the 2% barrier, despite the problems unfolding in the subprime category. Lereah acknowledged there's pain in some markets, notably those areas where home prices skyrocketed during the real estate boom years like San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas and Manhattan, but said, "you can't generalize about the whole nation because all real estate is local." Coincidentally, the title of Lereah's new book, on the real estate market, released this week, is "All Real Estate is Local."
The sector to hurt the most will be new home sales, which is 15% of the sector. "They are in trouble and sales are going down. There was a 17% drop in sales last year and this year it may be 10%, but don't confuse new home sales with existing home sales," he warned. "The other 85% of the housing sector is stabilizing."