Data May Suggest Housing Slowdown Is Media Creation

Data that I follow seems to show fewer homes on the market, not more as would be expected. What's the explanation?

Back at the height of the real-estate boom in 2004-2005, I used to count the columns of homes for sale in the local newspaper.  It provided me with a way to see how much was on the market in my town.  There were always between 6-9 columns, usually 9 when the market was a bit slower.

I hadn't done it for awhile and finally took out the Sunday paper and gave it a count today.  I expected to find more listings and more columns.  Imagine how shocked I was when there were only 3 ½ columns.  Where were all of the homes?  I thought unsold inventory was climbing rapidly.

I'm still a bit surprised but I offer several possible theories:

  • Sellers have taken their properties off the market instead of selling at below their asking price.
  • Rates have gone up and most people are content to stay in their homes which they purchased or refinanced at a low rate.
  • The housing slowdown is not as bad as the press is making it out to be.
  • I live in the Northeast in a dense area and maybe this is not representative.

Of course, this is just one data point.  Anyone else have any thoughts?

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  • HRarra

    August 14, 2007

    Maybe more people are listing their properties online versus in the newspaper.

  • Timothy

    August 14, 2007

    This is ridiculous. You can't extrapolate the housing market based on one set of real estate listings in one town.

  • JessicaRH

    August 14, 2007

    There may be fewer houses on the market, but there are still fewer buyers. The market will continue to fall for some time.

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