Over the past week, I’ve read several stories about the housing market that have me wondering what's going on. I’m not an economist nor am I real estate expert, but the housing market in this country is not looking like it is rebounding the way the economy in general is rebounding. Granted, the economic growth is slow, but the housing market in some areas of the country is still in decline.

Here are just a few of the bleak news stories I’ve read over the past several days:

  • January home prices were down for the sixth consecutive month, edging closer to 2009 lows, which is causing some concern that the double dip in the housing market is near.
  • New single-family home sales in February were down 28 percent (PDF) from February 2010 numbers.
  • 13 percent of houses in the nation are vacant, with some states seeing significantly higher figures. Although this doesn’t exclude vacation homes, vacancy rates are in the double digits in many of the nation’s hardest hit housing markets.
So to sum it up, home prices are still falling, fewer homes are being sold than a year ago and more homes are sitting empty. This adds up to a bleak housing market in some areas, especially in Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Nevada — some of the nation’s hardest hit areas.

I’m not a pessimist by nature, but I am a homeowner in Arizona and while some areas of the metro Phoenix area are seeing a slight rebound, most areas aren’t. Prices continue to fall and the unemployment rate is relatively stagnant. So for the time being, I’m just along for the housing market ride. Once things stabilize, I hope that our house regains some of its value. Only time will tell.

How is the housing market in your area?

What's going on with the housing market?
Vacancy rates are high, new home starts are down and there are rumors that the dreaded double dip is near.