Pluses and minuses ('sort of'):
Well, as the signs of a beginning recovery continue to mount, the housing market more or less mirrored the economy. Job reports continued to show improvement, however slow the rise, as either jobs created rose or new jobless claims dropped. Sales here in Marin continue to show signs of life. While there is not yet a clear across the board rise, prices in the $5-800,000 range are definitely showing some strong activity, to the extent that over 35% of listings in that market are in contract, a seller's market, in other words. The only market where homes are still seeing reductions in any meaningful way is the over $2 Million market. Here, it's truly case by case, some dropping and others rising.
What do these numbers mean? They indicate that we may have actually reached the bottom of the market and be trying to start to climb back out. Although you can still find some experts predicting it'll be at least 3-5 years until a turnaround will begin, more and more real estate experts are feeling that the rebound has begun and that 2011 could well be the baseline for the turnaround to climb from.
How will interest rates affect this? Well, this past week, we had a strong jump in rates with 30 year fixed loans around 5.3%. That's about 3/4% increase in the past month. It's a sign that rates may have left the sub-5's permanently, a cause for concern. However, on the bright side, even at five and a half (where they haven't gone yet), rates are still a bargain, and a definite reason to buy, or, if you're a seller, to jump into the market as buyers are really champing at the bit!