经济学人:房屋市场春寒料峭
日期:2012-03-06 11:44

(单词翻译:单击)

THE reanimation of America’s housing market has been a long time coming. Residential building last contributed positively to growth in 2005. Housing-construction employment has dropped 43% since then. Government efforts to resuscitate the market have flopped. Yet tantalising signs of a durable recovery are emerging at last. The National Association of Home Builders’ index of builder confidence rose for a fifth consecutive month in February, to its highest level since May 2007 (see chart). Sales of previously-owned homes rose 4.3% from December to January. The housing overhang is receding. The number of homes for sale dropped 21% in the year to January, to just over six months of supply—a normal level.
美国翘首以盼房屋市场复苏等得脖子都长了。房屋市场把最后的一点力量贡献给了2005年的经济增长,随后,房屋建造业的就业率就下降了43%。政府在拯救房屋市场的努力也懈怠了,好在耐用品市场最终显示出好转迹象。2月份房屋建造业协会的建设者信心指数迎来连续第5个月增长,达到了2007年5月份以来的最高水平(见图表)。1月份二手房销售比去年12月份上涨了4.3%,未售房产库存量也有所下降。今年1月份,待售房屋数量下降21%稍稍多于半年的房屋供应量——一个正常水平。


The recovery is an odd one by American standards, centred on the rental market. Though house prices sank 4% in 2011, rents posted a 2.4% increase, thanks to tumbling vacancy rates. Tight conditions are a side-effect of the housing bust. Construction hit a record low in 2011, surpassing a 2010 performance which itself displaced 2009’s. The pressure from America’s growing population is now showing. Builders are responding. The number of new building permits jumped 19% in the year to January. Approvals for buildings with five or more units, which are favoured by renters, soared by 61%.
这一主要在房屋租赁市场的复苏现象以美国标准来看是比较奇怪的。虽然房价在2011年减少了4%,房屋租金却因为缩水的房屋闲置率涨了2.4%。房市泡沫的一个副作用就是用地紧张。房屋建造业自2009年成绩一路下滑,最后在2011年跌入谷底。美国人口增长的压力现在开始显现出来,施工人员回应道。今年1月份新房建造许可证的数量上升19%。深受承租人青睐的有5个或更多单间的房屋建造许可证数量一下蹿了61%。
Meanwhile, adults who sheltered with friends or family during the recession are striking out on their own. A Goldman Sachs analysis reckons that growth in new households has been some 50% short of trend since the recession began, with over half of the shortfall coming from those aged 18-34. Goldman reckons the worst is over, and that the young should soon add to new housing demand.
与此同时,在大萧条时期和家人或朋友一起住的人也开始搬出去自己住。高盛投资的一位分析师称,在大萧条时期开始后新家庭的增长速度下降了有一半,这50%中有超过一半是18-34岁之间的年轻人造成的。高盛称低潮已经过去,那些年轻人马上就有购买新房的需求了。
Those rising rents make buying a bargain: as attractive as it has been for three decades, according to the National Association of Realtors’ index of housing affordability. Stocks of homes for sale are falling as investors snap up and convert vacant homes for renting out. Were it practical, mused Warren Buffett recently, he would buy up a couple of hundred thousand homes.
据国家房产经纪人协会的住房购买力指数显示,租金的上涨让购买新房相对便宜:可以说是30年来魅力不减。由于投资商抢购空房并转手出租,待售房库存量下降。最近沃伦•巴菲特思考道,这样做是否有效,因为他要把数十万的空房都买下来。
Yet despite this good news, housing finance is frail as ever. Lending rose in the fourth quarter of 2011, but stuck at the lowest level since 2000 for the year as a whole. The market is still working off sickly loans. New delinquencies are down sharply from 2008, yet more than $150 billion in home loans became delinquent in the fourth quarter of last year. More trouble lies ahead. Over 10m borrowers owe more than the value of their home. Banks are wary of new mortgages—and losses—while prices are falling. The Federal Reserve’s Senior Loan Officer Survey suggests that lending standards remain higher than at the height of the recession.
不过,撇开这个好消息,住房信贷依旧虚弱如前。虽说房屋贷款在2011年第四季度上涨,但以全年整体水平来看,却是自2000年以来的最低水平。更多的麻烦还在前面等着呢。超过1千万名贷款买房者欠下银行的债比他们的房子的资产还要多。在房价走低的时候,银行对新按揭——和损失处理得小心翼翼。美联储高级信贷人员调查显示,借贷标准比大萧条时期达到的高点还要高。
Washington remains behind the curve. Fearing for its finances, the Federal Housing Administration is increasing fees on mortgages it insures, which account for roughly a third of all new bank loans. A typical borrower’s loan costs may rise by just $5 a month, yet American Banker, a financial-services daily, suggests the rise could cut lending by billions of dollars. The Federal Housing Finance Agency is moving only slowly to pack foreclosed-on homes into bunches to be sold to investors for renting out. Thanks to those renters, the worst may be over. But it will be years before the mortgage market fully recovers.
美国政府还没有跟上形势。因为担心现在的财政状况,联邦住房管理局抬高了担保按揭贷款的费用,大约占新的银行贷款的三分之一。一个典型的贷款者每月需要还的房贷可能会上涨5美元,不过,金融类日报《美国银行家》称,还贷量增加可缩减数十亿美元的借贷。联邦住房金融署磨磨蹭蹭地把止赎房屋收回并卖给投资商,让他们转租出去。多亏那些租房者,最困难的坎儿似乎度过去了,但是想让按揭市场完全好转过来还需要很长时间。

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重点单词
  • surveyv. 调查,检查,测量,勘定,纵览,环视 n. 调查,纵
  • resuscitatevt. 使复活,使苏醒 vi. 恢复,苏醒
  • analysisn. 分析,解析
  • associationn. 联合,结合,交往,协会,社团,联想
  • performancen. 表演,表现; 履行,实行 n. 性能,本事
  • durableadj. 耐用持久的 n. (复)耐用品
  • shortfalln. 不足之量,差额
  • supplyn. 补给,供给,供应,贮备 vt. 补给,供给,提供,
  • waryadj. 小心的,机警的
  • curven. 曲线,弯曲,弧线,弯曲物 vt. 使...弯