I’ve been thinking about this week’s New York Times story on how real estate statistics don’t tell you everything you need to know. Kelly Bennett blogged about the story earlier this week on Survival in San Diego. Basically, the article is about the fact that reports of what’s selling, where and for how much leave out a large and significant portion of the market: the houses that sit for months with no prospects or prospects so low that the owners eventually decide they don’t want to sell anymore. How many San Diego homes have been taken off the market this year because the sellers received no offers or no offers they were willing to accept? If you know how to find out, I’d love to hear from you.
In my own Point Loma neighborhood, I can count off the top of my head 14 homes that have been on the market since I moved here in early July. One sold, at least four have been pulled off the market and the rest just sit there hoping for offers well beyond what the homes are worth.
I was watching Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” earlier this week and recognized a parallel between his charts on global warming and all the charts I’ve seen on the real estate market. This may seem a stretch but bear with me. One of Gore’s charts tracks 650,000 years of the Earth’s temperatures rising and falling in a continuous cycle until recently when the temperatures have spiked far higher than ever before. Skeptics, Gore notes, just say, “Well it’s cyclical. We’ve had warming periods before.” But these skeptics are completely oblivious to the fact that this spike is so much bigger than any other spike recorded in 650,000 years. We don’t have 650,000 worth of real estate data, but we have enough to recognize the obvious.