According to Reuters, U.S. home sales dropped 7 percent — but not for everybody: “Sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell more than expected in December, but lean inventories and steady price gains suggested sufficient strength in the housing market to support the economy.”
Taken overall, home prices grew during 2013, according to the Associated Press. Those gains were at the beginning of the year. Over the last 12 months, prices are up 13.7 percent.
So who is buying these homes, driving up prices and paying those prices?
Quentin Fottrell at MarketWatch says there is a shift in home ownership.
“In an analysis of over 70 different professions before and after the recession (2007 to 2009, vs. 2010 to 2012), home ownership among construction workers rose 1 percentage point to 55.4 percent — the highest growth of any profession — and increased 0.7 percentage points to 65.4 percent among carpenters during the same period, according to real-estate website Trulia, which mined U.S. Census data for the statistics,” Fottrell says.
Susan M. Wachter, a professor at Wharton University of Pennsylvania, told MarketWatch: “The only sectors that saw growth are groups that have access to bargains and distressed housing and have the expertise to fix them up.”
On the other hand, the surge among construction workers and the like is ironic, Don Frommeyer told MarketWatch, because they were the hardest hit in the downturn.
All the other professions, however, are down in home ownership. The worst, according to MarketWatch, were hairdressers who dropped 5.8 points to 66.3 percent home ownership.
But with U.S. consumer confidence on the rise, according to a Reuters article, things may “pick up some momentum in the months ahead,” says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, an industry group.