Thursday, January 11, 2007

Timing in life...

I read The Oregonian, though if the publisher keeps reducing newsprint it’s going to eventually fit on the bathroom roll.

But its bane – and the bane of all print media – is timeliness. In the twenty four hour cable/internet news cycle, by the time the paper hits the porch it’s already passé. It has to rely on features and habit to keep the readership up – something that’s not happening, for a number of reasons.

Real estate market news, though, is even less timely, so should be digested carefully and with an eye to the present.

Consider: sometime in the next week an item – on A1 or the front page of the Business Section – will highlight the December MLS report. (Listings up, sales down, but median and average prices up over December ’05 for the metro area, all expected.) Note, though, that those stats are for closed sales for the month, sales that actually entered escrow in late October and November, thus reflecting a market up to ninety days old!

Ninety days ago listing prices were dropping rapidly because sellers wanted to be out by the end of the year, and buyers were waiting because they were sure the prices were going to drop even more.

That’s not the case now: Sellers who’ve held on this long are holding price until the Spring rush – which usually begins the middle to the end of January – and investors are already coming back into the market. These facts won’t be reflected in The Oregonian until March or April, when buyers will likely be facing higher prices!

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