With the lull that has set in on housing this winter in the Seattle area, the news reports about the dead time are almost more interesting than the housing news itself. For example, take the four stories in today’s papers about December’s housing numbers. Here are the headlines:
Housing prices keep rising as sales slow
Elizabeth Rhodes, Seattle Times
Home sales are cooling with the weather
Kristen Millares Bolt, Seattle P-I
Area home sales taper off
Mike Benbow, Everett Herald
Home sales fall, but prices up
Barbara Clements, Tacoma News-Tribune
Surprisingly, two out of the four local papers actually have headlines that are more negative than positive, one is fairly neutral, and only one is still stubbornly upbeat. This is quite a turn from the usual “everything’s going great” face that they all seem to put on. Could this be a sign that there are finally some cracks appearing in the Seattle real estate market? From the P-I:
It was a banner year for real estate prices in the Puget Sound area, and December was no exception, according to statistics released Thursday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
But a drop in pending sales — offers made and accepted, but not yet closed — across 16 of the counties measured by the listing service indicates that people are pulling back from the real estate market. It’s the beginning of a cool-down.
Clearly no bubble is bursting, real estate experts agree. Rather, there is a slowdown in the market that will eventually put a damper on home-sale price increases, even as the demand for homes continues to outstrip the supply of them.
I love the logic that because clearly things are “cooling down” slowly right now, that means that there definitely won’t be a “bursting bubble” effect at all. I’m not saying there will be (all I know for sure is that recent price gains cannot possibly continue), but I think that the logic presented by the “real estate experts” is rather suspect.