An attempt at a positive spin on home-sales numbers

Home sales are down, sale prices are down, but as with everything else in life, it’s all relative.
“It’s been a rocky year for real-estate sales across the nation and to some extent across Virginia, although I would say Virginia has fared better than everybody else,” said John McClain, a senior fellow at the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis, on a conference call this morning to discuss the latest Virginia real-estate numbers.

Sales were down statewide by more than 5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to the same period of time a year ago, according to data from the Virginia Association of Realtors.

Double-digit declines in sales activity were reported in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham and Lexington-Buena Vista markets locally. Prince William County was on the flip side, to say the least, reporting a 148 percent spike in the quarter over activity in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Those numbers are more in line with a bubble of activity nationwide in December. A report released today by the National Association of Reatlors had existing home sales up 6.5 percent over November sales.

That’s the good news in the NAR report. The slightly bad – sales were down 3.5 percent from December 2007.

And then here’s the really bad – there were 4.9 million homes sold nationwide in 2008, the lowest volume since 1997 and off 13.1 percent from 2007.

 

– Story by Chris Graham

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