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Waiting for the Bottom?

UPDATE May 23, 2008. Lee County Sees 57% increase in existing condo sales and 41% increase in existing home sales. View the Post.

UPDATE May 6, 2008:

Read the Wall Street Journal’s View of the national market “Housing Crisis Over” from May 6, 2008 Editorial Pages.

The dire headlines coming fast and furious in the financial and popular press suggest that the housing crisis is intensifying. Yet it is very likely that April 2008 will mark the bottom of the U.S. housing market. Yes, the housing market is bottoming right now.

How can this be? For starters, a bottom does not mean that prices are about to return to the heady days of 2005. That probably won’t happen for another 15 years. It just means that the trend is no longer getting worse, which is the critical factor.

Most people forget that the current housing bust is nearly three years old. Home sales peaked in July 2005. New home sales are down a staggering 63% from peak levels of 1.4 million. Housing starts have fallen more than 50% and, adjusted for population growth, are back to the trough levels of 1982.” [Read more…]

Fort Myers, FL April 8, 2008

The REALTOR® Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach, Inc. reports that a total of 437 existing single family houses were sold in March 2008. The percent of sold to active listings has nearly doubled in the past 12 weeks.
In addition, 1096 single family homes are pending, reflecting a 45.3% upswing since the end of 2007.
While there has been more activity in the market, the median sales price was $205,000, up $15,000 from last month but 18% off what it was a year ago at $250,000.
“We’re cautious and optimistic about the recent activity in the market as the current absorption rate (supply in months) for residential properties is less than half of what it was at the end of December – 11 months vs. 23 months, and the lowest it’s been in over a year”, said President Ron Carpenter. “This means that buyers are realistic that good values and good properties are on the market and are buying while the interest rates are low. “

And we are fairly confident April numbers will be even stronger. The small indicators that don’t get reported are adding up: home inspectors are swamped, title agency offices are busy and open late on Friday nights…

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