OK… so where is the silver lining to the news today that home sales are up but home prices are still falling like a rock? Well… first of all, we at least are seeing signs of a return to a rational market where appraisers can actually tell you what a house is worth today. Last year because there were not enough data points (closings) the market had come to a stand still. Sure, we may not like the idea that your home is under water… or has no equity… but at least you know where you stand.
So for real estate professionals the fact that the industry is showing any signs of life is positive. In addition, it is great news for first time homebuyers and folks who were priced out of the real estate market for a decade. The relationship between household income and price is starting to converge. As I have said for several years that is what caused the bubble to burst (the fact that prices exceeded what people could afford to buy based on their incomes). Now as prices drop those folks that still have jobs (92%) can get a great deal. In fact, almost half of all sales are now either short sales or bought from the banks after they foreclose.
Thus, the bailout will not come from Washington even after they spend and waste $3 TRILLION but from first time homebuyers and folks who maintained a good credit score during this crisis and begin to start seeing see value.