The National Association of Realtors® reported a few days ago that pending homes sales were down 1.8% from a month earlier.
In the Austin/Central Texas market, that short-term snapshot looked even more bleak: 1551 pending contracts in September vs. 1700 in August — down almost 10%. That matches my personal experience and that of virtually all agents and brokers I have talked to: July and August were “soft” after the expiration of this year’s homebuyer tax credits, but September all but came to a stop.
October showed signs of life again, and it appears to be continuing in November. With tax credit-fueled market distortions, a pause or a moratorium in new foreclosures, and entering a typically slow winter season, it is impossible to predict whether we have a trend, or just a few weeks of new activity driven by the lowest mortgage interest rates ever.
Whatever the answer that that riddle, we continue to have the strongest local and regional economy in the country, fairly balanced housing supply/demand numbers, and market prices higher than a year ago. Yes, we’re feeling the the effects of the recession, but I would rather be a buyer or a seller — or a real estate professional, for that matter — here than anywhere else right now.
Time will tell ….