Boom Perky Headline for a “Perking” Housing Market
posted by March 6 at 14:40 PMon
The PI is most certainly not plugging the real estate industry’s rhetoric on the front page. Nope. The pendulum is swingin’ and now is the time for buyin’. And those naysayers? They’re “doubters.”
A statement accompanying the data highlighted increases in pending sales from January to February, with jumps of nearly 30 percent in Seattle, and slightly less in King County and the 19 counties in Western Washington that the service covers.
“In March, the real estate market is set to get its mojo back,” J. Lennox Scott, chairman and chief executive of John L. Scott Real Estate, said in the statement. “We’re already seeing the momentum build.”
So… the housing market “perked up” after January, one of the slowest months for home sales. Okay. But the meat of Aubrey Cohen’s solid article seems to conflict with the headline. The big picture ain’t very perky. Since last year, sales are down and inventory is way up.
But compared with the same month a year ago, February’s pending sales were down 22 percent in Seattle, 36 percent in King County and 31 percent in Western Washington.
The number of homes on the market in February increased 64 percent in Seattle, nearly 69 percent in King County and 39 percent in Western Washington from February 2007.
“Apparently the market is so bad that the only way they can make it seem good is to compare month-to-month stats from what is traditionally the second-slowest month of the year. Awesome,” said [SeattleBubble] blog editor Timothy Ellis, mocking the listing service’s news release.
Private to SeattleBubble: Mwah!
The market will eventually pick up again, of course, but it may continue to decline before that happens. The implication that people need to buy now before it’s too late is industry propaganda. And here, the PI is pushing that hype and reporting the dip in the housing market as a local tragedy. But slow sales and added inventory was overdue. It’s a dynamic that could reduce (over-inflated) prices, making homes more affordable to the people who want to live in greater Seattle but can’t afford a half-million dollar bungalow. That said, I feel bad for the struggling real estate agents and folks who bought a home that’s temporarily depreciated in value. But as bad as I feel for them, I feel better for the people who might be able to buy a house and won’t be stuck in the same mess as these
The Mortgage Bankers Association reported Thursday that the number of loans past due or in foreclosure jumped to 7.9 percent, from 7.3 percent at the end of September and 6.1 percent in December 2006. Before the third quarter, the rate had never risen past 7 percent since the survey began in 1979.