The Good News
The March 2009, REAL Trends Housing Market Report showed surprising strength over the prior two months activity. Nationally housing sales were down only 5.8 percent from March 2008 and prices of homes sold were down an average of 14.7 percent from a year ago. This compares with the February 2009 report that showed sales down 18.1 percent from February 2008 while the average price of closed sales was down over 22 percent in that same comparison. It is important to note that the REAL Trends Housing Market Report differs from most other housing studies in that it compares a month of this year versus the same month a year ago. It is not seasonally adjusted but uses actual data. Second, our sample is made up of national and regional brokerage data that are actual sales numbers. Lastly, it is not a small sample but rather represents over 35 percent of all brokerage assisted housing sales from every MSA in the Country. Every region showed improvement in housing sales with the western region showing the best improvement in transaction count with sales up 18.7 percent over a year ago, while the south showed the best price results with the average price being down only 7.9 percent versus a year ago. The results of the REAL Trends March Housing Market can be found later in this edition of REAL Trends and online at www.realtrends.com. We do expect continued recovery through the next few months as low interest rates, high levels of affordability and soft housing prices continue to attract first-time purchasers and investors into the market. Offsetting these positive factors will be rising unemployment and the relative high cost of non-conventional loans that will serve to keep a brake on the upper half of the housing market.