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San Diego based Showing Suite Inc. says that its data on the level of showing activity, which tracks the frequency and total number of times homes are shown to prospective buyers, provide a reliable indicator of what real estate sales volume will look like in coming months.

In comparing home sales data from Zillow to the company’s own tracking information on home showings from March 2011 to March 2012, each spike in showing volume seems to precede a comparable jump in closed sales two to three months later, as buyers that were shopping execute purchase contracts and close on homes a few months later. The highest volume, as is typical for the industry, occurs in late spring as families plan to move during the summer months when school is out. The weakest sales period tends to come in the winter months, as fewer people are motivated to plan a major move during the holidays.

If the predictions that can be made from analyzing Showing Suite’s data are to be believed, the coming months look strong for sales, as showing activity is up significantly year-over-year.

Higher sales, though, don’t necessarily mean housing for everyone. The California Association of Realtors yesterday released its affordability report for the first quarter of 2012, finding that 56 percent of home buyers can afford a median-priced, existing single family home, up from 55 percent in the closing quarter of 2011 and 53 percent a year ago.

As usual, however, the numbers don’t look as good when broken down by region and areas such as San Bernardino (78% affordability, median home price $131,400) are taken out of the mix. Locally, San Diego affordability stood at 46 percent, unchanged from 2011’s fourth quarter but up from 40 percent in the first part of 2011. The area median home price was $359,520, which would carry a mortgage payment of $1,813 (not including taxes or fire insurance) for those who have enough cash on hand to make a 20 percent down payment. A buyer would need an income of $72,529 to comfortably afford this payment according to traditional lending standards.

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