Thursday, March 10, 2011

Those Negative Home Sale Statistics

You would think that Realtors would know not to make things any more embarassing when it comes to their take on the current state of home sales.

Now comes word from Minneapolis that home sales in the Minneapolis area declined more than 30% when compared with one year ago for the last week in February. This "report" points out how that week's drop was more than double the 12% decline of the previous week. Put that "report" together and it spells an alarming and disturbing trend for anyone trying to or thinking of trying to sell a house or condo in that area.

This "report" tries to make the excuse that sales were higher a year ago because of the real estate tax credit which was available to first-time buyers and sellers under certain conditions at the time. That tax credit is no longer available. Therefore, by making this excuse, this "report" is really pointing out how the market conditions are really less favorable compared with one year ago since that tax credit is no longer available to anyone. Such a "reminder" to the concerned consumers reading that certainly doesn't help the situation either.

Yet, I am sorry to report that there is one more disturbing element to this "report", as if the negative news to current and potential sellers isn't already enough.

It seems that this "report" that contains all this discouraging information didn't even need to be released to the media to spread the word about how miserable the market is.

Let me put it another way. It SHOULD NOT have ever been released. It could have been prevented.

The source of this information is the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. You read that right. The dues money that agents and realty offices throughout the Twin Cities area is going, in part, to have information such as this released to the public.

Why there is this need for realty associations around the country to continue to pump out even one negative statistic is beyond me. I would understand if this information was coming from outside public companies, investment bankers, commercial property brokers, or banks which do not handle mortgages by way of news releases. Entities such as those are looking for large investor monies and would take the chance to bash something competing for investment dollars.

"People aren't buying real estate to make money, but if you invest with us, you could earn x% within 10 years", could be used to entice wealthy consumers to invest in long term bonds or certificates which assure a payoff at some point.

Instead, the industry continues to shoot itself in the foot. Worse yet, they are helping to take down thousands of current and potential home sellers in the process.

Having said that, I have other news to report specific to the Minneapolis area. During the last week of February 2011, just 2 weeks ago, 608 initial purchase agreements for houses or condos were signed. That means that, while some people are questioning the real estate market at the moment, about 600 properties were sold within one week's time in and around that major city! And that's without a tax credit or any other significant incentive.

In fact, I was able to verify that statistic with the Minneapolis Association of Realtors. It again shows that if you dig hard enough, you can find some good news for consumers.

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