Grasping at any good news I can find

More houses sold in February 2008 than in January 2008!

And in our market area* –

From 1 February 2007 to 1 March 2007:
190 properties sold and

From 1 February 2008 to 1 March 2008:
138 properties sold

More telling:

271 properties went under contract in this timeframe in 2007 while 198 went under contract in 2008.



More reading at Calculated Risk.

*Charlottesville, Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Nelson
**Full first-quarter 2008 market update (to include Waynesboro and Augusta) coming in the first week of April, to coincide with my appearance on WINA’s Charlottesville-Right Now! with Coy Barefoot on 7 April at 5pm.

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  1. Short Seller March 24, 2008 at 14:30

    Still seems to me that sellers’ expectations have not at all caught up with market realities. In my travels, I’ve seen a lot of “Price Reduced” signs, but after a little investigation you see that the price reduction was actually 5% or less. While I realize that everyone wants to maximize their profits, it doesn’t seem like such a token reduction would do much to generate interest in this kind of market.
    In one case I saw, there’s a property that was FSBO for about 3-4 months last year at $399,000, then listed with an agent at $409,000 for another 3-4 months. Now it’s back down to $399,900 and the seller is touting “have equity at closing.” Yeah, right!

  2. michael guthrie March 24, 2008 at 15:22

    Although the numbers don’t lie, I have seen more activity in the last few weeks than I have in the last 6 months. Here’s hoping that by the time you are on WINA, the month of March will show an upward trend vs. what the 1st two months have shown.

  3. Anonymous Coward March 24, 2008 at 17:39

    Hi Jim. Not trying to pop the bubble (so to speak), but I would note that the statistics in your post show that *fewer* houses sold in Feb. 2008 than sold in Jan. 2008 *as a percentage of total inventory.* So if anything the direction is continuing down, and I expect things will get worse in the next months as the typical spring inventory influx puts additional pressure on pricing. In any event given this data there isn’t enough difference in the number of sales to attach any statistical significance to the change (i.e., the difference is within the range of a random walk in the data given the number of of houses for sale overall).

    Two additional observations: (1) nat’l job growth has now ground to a halt. C’ville to follow? (2) Real interest rates on one-month Treasuries are now close to zero. One-month Treasuries are the instrument the Fed uses to execute monetary policy. Upshot — the Fed is out of bullets, or very close to it.

    *Editorial comment — wow the Bush Administration has really scr#$@d things this time.* End editorial comment.

  4. Pavel March 24, 2008 at 21:03

    It seems like for every home that goes under contract, 3 more come on the market that day.

  5. Jim Duncan March 25, 2008 at 06:18

    I’ve seen more activity – a multiple offer situation on a very-smartly-priced house – and properties languishing for a variety of reasons. There does not seem to be a discernible trend (yet) other than well-priced homes are in fact, selling.

    The fact that we are in a declining market is going to pull more buyers out of the pool, while demand is increasing.

    AC – keep pointing out context like that and I’ll have to ban you from the blog. 🙂 You are absolutely right, but … any kind up uptick is worth noting. I do believe that a large part of the market is psychology; fundamentals are not good, but there’s also a lot of bad information out there – on all sides.

    Short Seller – I’d be willing to bet that that seller was close to being upside-down.

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  7. fred March 26, 2008 at 09:21

    Interesting article link!

    Jim’s right when he says “a large part of the market is psychology.”

    Sellers just don’t want to come down, despite glut of houses, our poor economy, and the credit crisis.

    From the NYTimes:

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