Home Buyers Are More Bullish on Real Estate Than Home Builders

Charles Wallace

America's home builders remain in a funk over the real estate market, with a key industry confidence indicator dropping to its lowest level in six months on Tuesday. But home buyers may finally be perking up a bit. Even in southern California, ground zero in the housing bust, there are signs of life. The median price paid for a home in November was $285,000, up 1.8% from October and the same as November 2008, according to research firm MDA DataQuick. The total number of homes sold in the region rose 14.7% from the same month last year.

In another measurement of the industry's strength, the National Association of Realtors said pending home sales, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed, have risen for nine consecutive months. Pending home sales were up 3.7% in October compared to September, and up 31.8% compared with October 2008.