Open Forum (8/3– )

Posted by Dave Fratello on Monday, August 3rd, 2009 at 4:26pm.

Is it different here?

News on the housing front is growing cautiously optimistic. Sort of like with the economy as a whole, little hopeful signs are emerging, although no one is quite sure whether to believe what they are seeing.

But there's not just one housing market; each market is unique. (Where have we heard that before?) And regions and segments can move differently from one another.

According to today's WSJ (subscription required), high-end markets are beginning to decouple, and it's not for the better:
Housing is fast dividing into two markets: Sales of low- and moderately priced homes are picking up and values have stopped falling in some parts of the nation. But on the upper end, sales remain mired in a deep slump and price declines are expected to accelerate.
More than a few people did not enjoy their breakfasts after reading that front-page story. What happened to all the headlines about sub-prime loans?

One blogger recently urged people to keep real estate headlines in context:
[M]arket data is local and the information being broadcasted by the media is a national average... Smart buyers are paying less attention to the media hype...
In May, that (unnamed) blogger – from the National Association of Realtors – was urging people to steer away from the "bleak" talk of the housing market and the economy. But you might apply the same advice to the "green shoots" talk today – depending on where you're looking.

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(Pic above is of the Spelling manor in Holmby Hills, on sale for $150m; for fun and diversion, enjoy this direct link to Ultimate Homes magazine online, chock full of the priciest real estate in America in 2009. Note: The publisher starts talking to you on page 1, but he'll stop if you switch pages.)

As always, please use this week's "Open Forum" thread for news clips, off-topic questions & discussions of (virtually) any nature. And keep it clean.
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