While most of the real estate industry presently is slumbering, some encouraging sales activity is being reported throughout Southern California.
It isn't exactly 1976 again, of course, but the descent of the home mortgage rates and the end of the school year -- the traditional U.S. period of moving -- should help matters considerably.
The initial stirrings emanate from Orange and San Diego counties.
Meanwhile, if you want a long-range forecast from a Department of Housing and Urban Development source, housing will continue to be expensive and mortgage money will remain costly.
John Trauth, director of HUD's regional office in San Francisco, offers such staff opinions in a report entitled, "Housing Forecasts for the 1980's: New Perspectives." It's strictly West Coast crystal-gazing, not Washington, D.C.-oriented opinions or positions.
Trauth's group believes that the most significant advances in housing concepts in the 1980s will take place in the field of energy. His staffers say:
"Design modifications and technological advances will develop rapidly in response to the ever-increasing costs of energy. Passive solar heating will become commonplace in new developments, many of which will feature communal solar plants. 'Energy audits' of existing homes prior to resale will become standard and eventually will become a requirement.
"Energy-related housing rehabilitation programs will become very popular with funding and incentives offered by federal, state and local governments as well as by utility companies offering low-interest and no-interest loans.
"Earth houses and use of indigenous building materials with energy-saving characteristics such as adobe will enjoy significant popularity by the end of the decade as the United States moves closer to its goal of energy self-sufficiency."
The report also terms housing as the major social issue of the decade.
"After four decades of generally moderate priced housing in a market in which demand and supply remained relatively in balance, the United States is now entering a period of high housing construction costs, combined with tight money markets which together will limit future supply. As a result, the cost of shelter will claim a higher portion of family income throughout the 1980s, averaging between 35 to 40 percent for rental property and as high as 45 to 50 percent for ownership.
Finally, repeating a tenet of our times, home ownership will continue to be an excellent investment, tax shelter and inflation hedge.