Gaze Into the Crystal Ball of Housing in 2007, and Shrug

Recent numbers have touched off understandable speculation about the fate of the national housing market in 2007.

A federal government report on Wednesday showed stronger-than-expected new home sales nationwide in November over October. And a report out on Thursday shows existing home sales were also stronger in November than in the month before. Mortgage applications, too, have been up since the summer, rising as much as 12 percent from August through this month, according to a new report from a leading trade group.

These statistics have buoyed the spirits of some, including likely suspects such as brokers and sellers. But the optimism is often – and rightfully – tempered by variables, such as: Will interest rates go up? Will energy costs rise? Will home construction ebb, allowing inventories of unsold homes to dwindle? Will any national statistics ever truly matter to some local markets, like Manhattan’s?

Unfortunately, for these questions, only time will likely tell.

- Tom Acitelli