October numbers are in. They could be worse but they aren't very encouraging.
Seems like half of the buyers who might have been in the market decided to wait and see in October. Only the most confident buyers pulled the trigger while banks were collapsing and bailouts were being debated all around us. In fact, there were half as many pending sales in October 2008 as there were in October 2007. This was probably the most pronounced year-over-year decline since I started this blog a few years ago.
Inventory on the market was also down versus last year (10% fewer listings year over year) and a little over 5% lower than September 2008. While this reduced inventory is the right direction if you want the market to find its bottom soon, it pails in magnitude relative to the pending sales decline.
If November 2008 pending numbers come in higher, the same, or down <20% of November 2007 pending numbers, it will probably mean things are slow but that October might have been a particularly harsh month and not necessarily indicative of longer term trends. If November is just as bad as October was, we're in for a rough, rough winter.