Monday, October 6, 2008

Month End Stats, September

Click to enlarge chart; use Back button to return to post.

Well, we're teetering. For months now the metro Phoenix market showed a small but significant improvement toward a balanced market every month. The past 2 months just sort of hang there, not improving or declining much. Ever the optimist, I believe it's a temporary condition. We'll go back to slow and steady monthly improvements before too long. The pragmatic side of me agrees with the optimist: it's already pretty horrendous, historically speaking, so we can only go up from here, no?

Why the temporary setback in our march toward housing recovery? It's probably a combination of factors, just like it was a perfect storm of bad economic news that led us to the recent $700B rescue bailout.

The number of foreclosure properties hitting the market each week continues to grow. The Business Journal reports we hit an all time high of 2,210 foreclosure notices issued in one week (in September). More inventory for sale is 'bad' when your goal is balance in the market.

Deals are harder to consummate lately. Sellers and buyers alike are nervous and stressed. I joke with friends and colleagues that I'm working 3 times as hard for 1/2 as much money. But that's not really a joke; it's reality.

We're entering a season that's typically slow. Fewer people want to be bothered selling their house or searching for a new one in the fall and winter. We'd rather watch football. Or election forecasting, if that's your thing.

I've been told (but can't find supporting data online) that Presidential election years are slower years for real estate sales. That just makes sense. Who want to take a $250,000 (or more) leap of faith when they're waiting to see which way the tax policies will blow next year? My own theory on that is that it really doesn't matter whether a D or an R sits in the White House next January. As long as regular folks know what they're in for over the next 4 to 8 years, life on Main Street goes back to normal.

Here's to normal! I'm looking forward to it.