National indicators that I’m reading today (and a brief market update)

Consumer confidence hits a near 2-year low
Another dismal month for consumer confidence (subscription after today)
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index Declines Again
Home Prices Post Biggest Drop in 16 Years
Existing Home Sales 5.5 Million
Continuation of Negative Annual Returns in Housing

I’m looking for some good news, but unfortunately haven’t found it yet. Just looking at the numbers of sold homes in Charlottesville/Albemarle year-over-year these are the volumes of homes sold:

January – -23.53%
February – -36.89%
March – 1.75%
April – -5.23%
May – -6.67%
June – -44.77%
July – -40.61%
August – -41.67%

I promise that one day I’ll figure out how to export the data in a way that I can manipulate it into a pretty graph, but I think that the numbers speak for themselves.

Taking condos out of the data, though:

January – -65.22%
February – -58.75%
March – 0%
April – 7.19%
May – 0%
June – -14.57%
July – -8.72%
August – -16.36%
The numbers aren’t quite as discomforting.

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3 Comments

  1. Jeff Royce September 25, 2007 at 12:53

    Jim,

    These numbers stink for us Realtors, but I don’t know that they make much of a difference for either home owners or buyers. The value of homes didn’t go down by these amounts only the number of sales. The actual price of the home is much more significant than the number of sales to our customers.

    Of course the number of sales affects the value of homes, but the value changes are much milder than the sales differences you cite. This might lead a consumer to think they could lose that kind of money going forward, which is not even close to true.

    Now as for Realtors, we feel this directly. Those percentage changes are very similar to the amount total Realtor salaries went down compared to the year before. That will quickly week our business of non-professional agents, but is indeed discomforting.

  2. Anonymous Coward September 25, 2007 at 14:01

    Ok, guys, time to face some facts.

    First, removing condos from the comparative home sales data doesn’t tell us anything, b/c the sample size isn’t big enough to give us a statistically significant result. We can’t tell if the numbers are better or worse ex-condos — only that the overall trend is a decline in sales.

    Second — and this relates to Jim’s comment above — these numbers make a *huge* difference for both buyers and sellers. These numbers show that the sharp continuing drop in home sales is beginning to show up in lower pricing as well. Home prices are of course sticky, as sellers tend to be irrational (irrationally optimistic, that is) about the value of their house in a declining market. But sooner or later even the most stubborn seller will get the message. And in a highly transient community like C’ville, where a significant percentage of transactions come from people who *have* to move, the price adjustments are, if anything, likely to come *faster* than they will nationwide.

    So if C’ville is special, it’s not a good kind of special for housing prices.

    AC

  3. Chris LaBarbera October 3, 2007 at 22:57

    The home price is also down in Jacksonville Florida. We are being hit very hard by the credit crunch. In theory, it should be a perfect buyers market with the lowering of the interest rates and with the decreased home prices…..but still no buyers.