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Beware Dated Housing Stats

"Anyone here from Northern Virginia?" asked Tom Lawler, founder of Lawler Economic & Consulting in Vienna. He was one of the panelists in that marathon economic summit meeting that the National Association of Realtors held at the Marriott Wardman Park yesterday. "Northern Virginia is actually starting to bottom," he said.

He warned participants that all the home-price indexes reported in the news rely on dated information. "Case-Shiller not only has a lot of foreclosures, but the last index was based on January-February closings and those contracts were made a month or two earlier," he said, referring to the closely followed index of home prices.

Are you seeing a bottom -- or are such sightings wishful thinking?

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  May 13, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Statistics , The economy , The market  
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Next: Recovery Could Bring a Flood of Listings


A bottom may be forming in PWC, at least for the lowest end properties. Foreclosures completed are approaching the total number of sub-primes and alt-A's ever made out there, so the end of REO's must be near. And the prices beat renting.

Outside of PWC bottom-rung properties? Not so much. A healthy spring selling season for competively priced homes? Absolutely. A bottom? much harder to call.

Posted by: kingstowne_renter | May 13, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I think we've passed the bottom, at least in the close-in Arlington neighbhorhoods. I've been watching closely the condo market, and it seems the stock of one-bedrooms has been low for quite some time now (a few months at least), and the one-bedrooms that do list, if they are priced right, are going under contract in under 30 days. We've not only hit bottom, but probably passed it a couple of months ago.

Posted by: krm22201 | May 13, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

don't worry krm22201, once the SFH's and 2-3 bdrm condos start really coming down in price, those 1 bdrms will get even cheaper. This is just a spring rally in the inner areas.

Posted by: kingstowne_renter | May 14, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and if you want real current housing stats, in the great state of VA we have those freely available online, just search for VA and MRIS, and you can get county or zip code by zip code data conveniently arranged into price tiers and by number of bedrooms. Released on the 10th of every month. Summary tables of these are also presented by Harriet at the NoVabubble fallout blog.

Posted by: kingstowne_renter | May 14, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

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