Did you see the front page of the Tribune today? “Housing Market Crisis Hits County Sales”
After reading the article all I could do was shake my head. This was so off the mark. The explanation of why the median condo price went up from someone that supposedly follows trends in Central Coast real estate was not based on any real statistical info either. If you look at the individual city sold stats about midway down on the www.SloWatch.com site, you’ll see that condo sales in the first quarter of 2008 were really low. You can’t put much weight on a median home price when using a data sample that’s so small. A few more (or less) condo sales could have made the median condo price show a decline.
While I don’t dispute the “news” about March sales from Data Quick, I’ve blogged many times how this data is not a reflection of what is happening in the market TODAY. March sales were January and February pending sales since it takes 30-60 days for the escrow process before a home is recorded as a sale.
I’m about to do the statistics for April and update the SloWatch site. As of a few minutes ago, we’re at 561 Pending Sales for the month. While we were looking that we may break 600 for the month, we’ll see if today and tomorrow will result in reaching that number. Regardless, April will continue the upward trend in market activity that we’ve seen since the beginning of the year. Just look at the first chart on the SloWatch site and look where the green line (pending sales) is going. The other data to look at is inventory levels. If inventory levels take a jump up, that will create more competition and further price pressure. If they come down, then there is less choices for Buyers which is good news for Sellers.
But prices are continuing to drop. Part of this is due to foreclosures being the new comp for a neighborhood. Also, Sellers are becoming more realistic about the housing market and are lowering their price to sell. What’s going to stop prices from dropping is more Buyers and lower inventory. We’ll see the direction the April stats show we are going after I update them after the end of the month.