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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

National press reports continue to mislead & confuse local buyers & sellers

[Published Feb. 2, 2012 in the Denver Post]

You can’t blame would-be buyers and sellers from being confused by the conflicting housing reports which they read in the press and see on TV.  One such would-be seller sent me a frantic email last week, saying, “See article link below.  Worst year EVER for home sales.  And now that Bernanke has told everyone that rates will stay low until 2015, all incentive to buy a home has evaporated.”

This was a classic example of being misled by a national report.  The article which he sent me was about national statistics on new home sales.  Indeed, the headline read, “New home purchases fall, 2011 worst ever for sales.”

Within the article was buried good news for existing home sales, but it was hard for the reader to take in once the misunderstanding was instilled.  Here is the sixth paragraph: “Sales of previously occupied homes rose in December for a third straight month. Mortgage rates have never been lower. Homebuilders are slightly more hopeful because more people are saying they might consider buying this year. And home construction picked up in the final quarter of last year.”

That was Thursday’s national news.  On Friday, the following story appeared in the Denver Post: “Home builders in Colorado pulled more permits during the first 11 months of 2011 than they did during all of the previous year.”

Then, on Monday, Realty Times, an online real estate news service, reported, “The National Association of Realtors (NAR) latest existing home sales survey shows that sales are on the rise again. This is the third straight month of increases as well as rising above year ago levels.” (Emphasis added.)

The lesson here is two-fold. First, the existing home market is different than the new home market, and, second, the Colorado market is different than the national market.  I’ve pointed that out in this column several times a year over the past decade!

NAR is good about consistently reminding everyone in their TV commercials that “all real estate is local” and that’s why it’s important to consult a local Realtor about your local market. Yet, every time they issue a national report on home sales, I don’t see that caveat included.

The market here in Colorado, and especially in this part of Jefferson County, remains hot. Buyers are snapping up the available listings, and we can’t list more homes quickly enough.

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