Are things really as good as represented in Thursday’s local Desert Sun headlines -“April housing sales strongest since September 2005”? The article begins with positive news on emerging new strength in local sales. Our sales in April reflect a 25.1% increase over March and only a 3.8% drop from the year before, contrasted against previous year to year drops of around 30%.
It’s the resale market rather than new home inventory which is driving current sales. (I would add as an aside, that if you are able to find the home you want from existing inventories of new homes, you will be enticed with significant incentives (which will evaporate when the surplus is gone).
The Sun article continues with the optimistic observation that although it was a “baby step”, the April upswing in sales is a continuation of improved sales began last fall. See the complete article at April Housing Sales.
By contrast, the tone in Wednesday’s New York Times article headline “In Housing, the Strong Turn Weak” is completely different and seems to contradict what’s stated in our local coverage. The contrast between the two headlines, commenting on the same subject, is confusing. Reading further showed that the article contents are not polar opposites as the headlines first suggest.
The NYT is looking at national trends as a whole rather than at our special market here in the valley. Traditional high season for most of the country is springtime, whereas here in the valley it’s from late fall until spring. Further, the Times article goes on to say that in cities such as Manhattan, downtown Boston and Dallas, prices have either held steady or even gone up; sales there are brisk and inventories low. So what is happening in these big cities is closer to what is happening here in the valley, where we are seeing signs of new strength. The Times also states that national sales as reported by the Commerce Department have actually increased 3.3% in April from March.
Another point the Times makes is that the “credit pendulum” has swung from “too easily obtained”, not back to neutral but beyond, to very conservative standards for issuing loans, similar to standards of eight years ago. This can be a good thing, protecting those would be buyers who really don’t have the credit, income or assets to be borrowing. To read the complete article, click on In Housing.
In conclusion, whether you are a buyer or a seller, look to your local Realtor for the most comprehensive analysis of your specific real estate needs. I tell my clients that current market conditions may vary even between neighborhoods. I give them the most relevant information on what’s available for their specific needs and wants right here in Palm Springs. What’s happening elsewhere isn’t that relevant to our market here. Now, more than ever, your professional Realtor can help you to make a wise decision in real estate.