Sunday, December 28, 2008

Area's November sales reflective of national economic mood

Anyway you cut it, November was a tough month all around. Along with the stock market, housing numbers took some sharp turns. Finding the bright spots was challenging at best if you are or were trying to sell into this market. Buyers, on the other hand, had their pick of the litter.

In the Cincinnati area, the level of inventory vs. sales was up steeply to 12.2 months in November, while the number of residential sales fell to levels not seen in quite some time. (See the monthly absorption rate and residential sales charts for a detailed snapshot.) The area's performance was in line with national statistics published by the National Association of Realtors.

December seems to be regaining some footing with the significant drop in mortgage rates causing some folks that were sitting on the sidelines to begin looking. Foreclosures and distressed sales are still carrying the day though, accounting for more than a third of sales nationwide. We should see that trend continue for some time until inventory levels are more balanced.

Anectdotal evidence from talking to other agents and clients suggests we will see some a more stabilized market when December's numbers are tallied. Additionally, if mortgage rates stay low through the next couple of months, we ought to see some price stabilization as well given the impact on overall housing affordability. I'm encouraged that many folks are beginning to see homes have reached "bargain value" levels and want to see what's available. The coming spring market should prove interesting.

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