I just posted an article on the Local Market Information page on my website that highlights a decline in existing home sales nationwide from July to August. Obviously, we would all like to see the market grow, particularly after a year-plus of negative pressure. On the other hand, it seems that we have a tendency to read and react to every bit of short-term news without looking at it from a broader perspective. If we, in business or in government, try to bob and weave with every ripple that comes our way, we will never do anything else.
Moreover, the real estate business is “hyper-local,” meaning that market forces affect specific neighborhoods in specific cities differently. In Austin, our downturn in unit sales last month was actually much larger than the national figure reported in that article, but so was listing volume, so property values — ultimately more important to property owners — have not been so seriously affected: our median price in August 2009 was down 3.6% from Austin 2008, and there are many parts of our metro area where sale prices have been increasing all year and a well-prepared home will sell in just a few weeks.
The point is that focusing on one data point, or one monthly change, is unproductive for most people in the management of their own lives and budgets. If you want or need to buy or sell real estate, you need very specific professional consultation about your home in the context of your objectives.
I am a “news-aholic” myself, so I “get” the shock value of this kind of news reporting, but it would be great to see more balance.
I welcome your comments.