So the August numbers are in and the L-shaped recovery continues. It's not exactly time to bust out the Dom Perignon but I think most people would agree they can put away the hemlock as well.
Here are some of the highlights based on my reading of the data. I'm sure others will differ and some will predict double dip recessions or great depressions.
Without further adieu:
For the Optimists (including me):
- Pending sales for August 2009 were consistent with August 2008 (up 1.5%)
Closed sales were only ~5% lower than August 2008
- Note, pending sales were almost 50% lower than 2008 for the months of February and March.
- Median prices have held firm all year long hovering just under $300K (never falling under $260K), coming in at $280K this past August, 4% higher than July.
For all the Downers (you know who you are):
- Given the amount of inventory and number of closed sales, it'll take 9 months to absorb what's currently out there. Economists like to see it closer to 6 months for it to be a balanced market.
- Median prices for August were 10% lower than August 2008.
- Flat metrics do not mean we have a recovery. It just means we're not in free fall.
I had to struggle to find ammo for the downers this month. I think if you look at the last several months, it's pretty clear prices are not dropping precipitously but holding pretty steady and condos are being bought and sold (the market is clearing). In fact, 50% more condos were sold in August than February, the low point of the year.
Alright, you can have at it now.