Headlines lately told the story that while home prices had dropped, home sales were much higher than last July. This was from information from the California Association of Realtors (CAR) looking at the entire state. The local Tribune reported printed this article from a news service without any info looking at SLO County. I also saw this news posted on another local Realtor’s blog.
While I can understand the Tribune printing this headline since a majority of the articles they now print come from sources outside our area, I don’t understand why a Realtor from this area would post it without any commentary on the local market. Do they not know the facts or do they think that the headline might somehow generate business if someone read it and thought it was the truth for our area?
If you go to my SloWatch.com site and scroll the home page towards the bottom, you’ll see the Sold graphs from First American Title. For SLO County, you’ll see that the number of Solds for 2008 is well below 2007 levels. While July’s solds closed the gap a bit from July 2007’s number, it still over 15% lower.
But, if you look at the Santa Maria area, you’ll see that indeed, the number of sales in 2008 are well above 2007. In fact, for most of the year, sales have been higher than the past 5 years! The way to explain this is as follows; the Santa Maria has a lot of foreclosures and the prices of homes in that area have dropped more than any other area on the Central Coast.
While everyone seems to be looking for the evidence that the SLO County housing market has hit bottom, it’s not going to be a state or national statistic. Inventory, foreclosures, and other factors happening at the city (and county) level will tell the story.