Recent news from the National Association of Realtors could be seen as a mixed bag for those who operate construction equipment.
The NAR reported that sales of existing single-family homes were up during the fourth quarter of 2009. In all, the quarter saw a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.03 million, up from the 5.29 million seen the quarter before. That comes in at an increase of 13.9 percent.
Though increases in the sales of existing homes may not get construction equipment moving on new residential construction, it does indicate that the housing market in general has found some stability, which could bode well for contractors. Lawrence Yun, economist for the NAR, said that sales of existing homes went up because of the federal first-time buyer's tax credit in addition to low rates.
"With inventory levels trending down over the past 18 months, we expect broadly balanced housing market conditions in much of the country by late spring with more areas showing higher prices," Yun said.
The first-time buyer tax credit was recently extended by government and gives people an $8,000 incentive to purchase a home. It also provides $6,500 for people who are buying a new primary residence, regardless of whether it's their first home.