Market Stabilizing as Unit Sales Level With 2008

From Following a month that saw the first year-over-year improvement in four years, August results in the REAL Trends Housing Market Report were level with August 2008.  While these results were not as good as the July results-where unit sales had been up marginally-it does show that the floor of housing unit sales may have been reached.  Nationally, unit sales were down 0.2% in August 2009 over August 2008. The Western region again showed the greatest strength with unit sales up 7% while the South region lagged other regions with unit sales down 3.3%.  On the pricing front, the South showed the best results with average prices for all homes sold down 9.5% while the Western region continued to suffer the largest price declines with a decrease of 18.2%.
Unit and price declines were mixed across the regions.  The Northeast region was down 1.5% in units a significant improvement over the prior months while the Midwest and South were down 2% and 3.3% respectively. The Midwest region saw average prices decline 10.4% while the Northeast was down 10.7%.
“The August 2009 results were not as good as July’s but were not off by much.  What we are seeing is evidence of a bottoming out in unit sales on a year over year comparison with prices continuing to decline from the year ago period.  The good news is that price declines do not appear to be accelerating but are staying similar on a month to month basis,” said Steve Murray, editor of REAL Trends.  
“With the economy continuing to shed jobs and incomes shrinking, this is likely the best result we can expect-that housing sales on a unit basis are flattening out and that price declines are at least not getting any worse for the moment.  While we know that there are substantial challenges ahead, with a predicted rise in foreclosures and continued downward pressure on prices as a result, it would appear that we are closer to the floor of this recession in housing than we have been at any time in the last four years.” 
Housing Market Report 
August 2009                        July 2009                      
(Versus same month a year ago)
Closed Sales   AVG Price      Closed Sales   AVG Price
-0.2%                 -12.1%              +2.8%             -10.4%
Regional Report
-1.6%                 -10.7%              -1.2%              -13.9%
-3.3%                   -9.5%              -1.7%               -8.7%
-2.0%                  -10.4%             +3.7%             -10.9%
+7.0%                 -18.2%            +12.3%            -11.3%