First Sign of Recovery?
Joy and I live in a neighborhood where real estate prices are relatively stable. They go up in good times but don't go down so much in bad times. But the Bush Recession has hit our neighborhood even if not as hard as many neighborhoods. Some people in our building have had to move out because of job insecurity, new children, etc. Yet we have noticed that for the first time since we moved here, sales have been very, very slow. Generally when an apartment hits the market in our building, it goes within a few weeks. But these days they often are on the market for months.
One of the signs I saw of an ailing economy was when open houses in our building went from crowded affairs with flocks of people coming in and out eager to see an apartment, to lonely affairs for the real estate agents, leaving them with time on their hands to chat in between the occasional looker who left without making an offer. Asking any of these real estate agents how it was going, "SLOW!" was always the emphatic response. And they would have a demoralized look on their face as if "SLOW" didn't even begin to convey how bad the market was.
Last weekend was the first time since the Bush Recession began when the flow of apartment shoppers returned to normal. A constant flow of people, clutching their telltale sheet of paper downloaded from a Realtor site, crowding into an apartment to take a look. The Realtor asked us not to take a sheet with the description of the apartment (we were being nosy and helping a friend browse for an apartment) because she was running out. She didn't look demoralized, but looked as if she could barely handle the flow of lookers and was anticipating offers.
I don't know if actual sales are picking up yet, but the number of people looking has returned to normal in my building. This is the first sign I have seen that the economy is improving and we may finally be getting ourselves out of the Bush Recession. I am sure we have a long, long way to go, and I know of no one, myself included, who doesn't still feel financially insecure. But it may be that Sunday, July 19, 2009 will mark the first overt evidence I personally saw of a recovery.