Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pumping the negatives about home sales again

You probably saw the statistics released today (Dec. 23) that "new home" sales are down for the month of November. From the first moment I learned of this and read the wire service announcement, I was already expecting and starting to read the negative references.

The first national story quotes the Chief Economist of the National Assn. of Home Builders about these "awful" numbers. The story infers that it is a reflection of the federal home buyer tax credit having been extended into April and how it means buyers don't have to "rush".

I'm feeling that by the time you are reading this, you have probably been bombarded with still more gloom and doom stories from the media about this. Hardly anybody will take the time and effort to point out these are "new home" figures. Not everybody is looking for new construction in this day and age. Yet, because of these figures, potentially millions of people will think that the real estate market is going back into the dumps.

Hours earlier, we had all kinds of positive indications. Home sales (or as we now have to say, resales) were acutally UP about 7% for that same month of November. That is a far more important statistic.

But a lot of people who are potential home buyers won't understand the difference. They will either go back to thinking that the real estate market doesn't favor them, or that they can wait until March or April to explore possibily taking advantage of the federal tax credit.

To me, this calls for crisis management. Realty agents can't have their client base thinking that right now is not a good time to buy or sell. If I were a licensed agent, I wouldn't care that this is Xmas week. I'd be calling, sending e-mail alerts, texts, or whatever I do to reach my client base, hopefully by the end of the day today. I'd be letting my database know that statistics released by the Home Builders Association are only for new construction and repeat the National Assn. of Realtors statistics about the increase in home sales for November. Followed by a reminder about the "limited time" left for the federal tax credit. The problem is that very very few of the agents will actually do this.

The key to buying or selling a property and getting the best possible deal is really based on how well (or poorly) you use statistics and information that is available. It's your call.

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