PREVIEW-April home sales, loan demand reflect tax credit end

* What: U.S. April existing home sales

* When: Monday, May 24, 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT)

* What: Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes

* When: Tuesday, May 25, 9:00 a.m. (1300 GMT)

* What: Mortgage Bankers Association applications indexes

* When: Wednesday, May 26, 7:00 a.m. (1100 GMT)

* What: U.S. April new home sales

* When: Wednesday, May 26, 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT)

REUTERS FORECASTS:

* Existing home sales are seen rising 6.0 percent to 5.62
million units after growing by 6.8 percent in March, with
forecasts between 5.42 million and 5.80 million.

* S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city index is seen declining 0.3
percent, seasonally adjusted, in March after a 0.1 percent dip,
and increasing 2.4 percent year-over-year after a 0.6 percent
rise. Estimates for the month range from a 0.5 percent drop to
a 0.3 percent rise, and the annual rise forecasts span from 0.6
percent to 3.3 percent.

* New home sales are seen up to 420,000 units in April from
411,000 in March.

FACTORS TO WATCH:

These indicators will shed light on demand for houses in
the weeks before and just following the end of a popular
government incentive aimed at steadying a floundering market.

The April 30 deadline for homebuyer tax credits of up to
$8,000 pulled many sales forward, likely draining activity from
the usually heated spring and summer months.

Economists say it will take several more months before its
clear whether the market can stand on its own or retreats anew
after the credit’s demise.

New and existing home sales likely were robust in April as
buyers raced to beat the deadline for the credit. This would
follow a five-month high in pending sales of previously owned
homes in March.

“If they could get it done, they got it done,” inflating
sales last month in a “mad rush” for the purchase incentive,
said Jonathan Corr, chief strategy officer at Ellie Mae in
Pleasanton, California.

Affordability has barely been better and that should put a
floor under the housing market.

Prices have stabilized at depressed levels, down an average
of about 30 percent from 2006 peaks. Mortgage rates are bumping
up against record lows, thanks to the euro zone-driven flight
to safety that slashed the Treasury yields use to peg home loan
rates.

Amid the reports of hearty demand for houses in April and
steadying prices, there will be evidence of the widely expected
demand slump in the weeks after the tax credit expired.

On Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association details the
latest week’s loan activity. Demand for mortgages to buy a
house sank to a 13-year low in the second week without the tax
credit, the industry group reported this week.

MARKET IMPACT:

U.S. financial markets are widely expecting April’s home
sales to extend the March uptrend as buyers were spurred on by
the impending tax credit deadline. Home prices are seen rising
this year and next, though they may dip first and it will take
years to recover to pre-crash levels. [ID:nN1927267].

Unemployment near 10 percent and foreclosure sales will
keep prices from rising much any time soon.

If debt market upheaval in Europe keeps the
flight-to-quality alive in Treasuries, mortgage rates will stay
low longer than many economists planned, supporting housing.

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(Reporting by Lynn Adler; polling by Bangalore Polling
Unit)

PREVIEW-April home sales, loan demand reflect tax credit end