Real estate whiplash: new data says market is recovering (or not)

a nice house
a nice house

The name of the real estate news game these days is all numbers, all the time. It's not at all bizarre for four or five different sets of real estate market data to come out in a single week! That wouldn't be so terrible if it weren't for the conflicting messages that the real estate market reports sometimes send out. This week was a perfect example: three data reports leading to totally different conclusions.

Monday's Existing Home Sales report, issued by the National Association of Realtors showed sales up exactly 10%. The trade group actually described this motion as the market having "jumped." These numbers reflect a 10% increase in the sales of completed homes from August to September. However, when you compare these September 2010 figures to existing home sales from September 2009, it's actually almost a 20% decline in home sales year-over-year.