The National Association of Realtors just released the national existing home sales figures for May. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted rate for existing home sales rose 2.0% over April. Regionally, in the northeast the sales pick-up was 4.6% over April. On the price front, the median sales price year over year was off 6.3%, while in the northeast the drop from May 2007 to May 2008 was 2.4%.
Sure, on a year over year basis, the sales drop off is pretty dramatic — sales were down 15% in the northeast from May 2007 to May 2008. But the fact that there was a sales pick up from April to May, rather than a further decline, is good news — and reflects what I've been seeing locally. I know that commenters here will be quick to say that "one month does not a trend make" and "the worst is yet to come, etc. etc. etc.". But I think it is an interesting turn of events.
NAR's May sales data generally reflects buyer behavior in April, so its not reflecting the $4+ gas price run up in late May/early June. We'll start seeing that in next month's data.
NAR economists attributed the sales pick up to consumers responding positively to lower prices. I'm definitely seeing that in our market — houses that are very attractively priced are getting interest. I even found myself web surfing last week for condos in Miami, thnking, "Hey, if prices are down, maybe its worth a look again." I doubt that the overbuilt Florida market has hit bottom yet — the amount of inventorwas pretty staggering — but there were some things that were kind of enticing, if I wanted to take the Florida plunge again (which I don't).