Is the Real estate Market up or down.. depends on the headlines!!

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There is no question that the real estate market is behind last years statistics.
But, we are so swayed by the media on a regular basis as to how to interpret statistics.
Note, for example the following two headlines TODAY in the two editions of the Seattle newspapers online from the same statistics from the Northwest MLS.

Seattle Post Intelligencer

Seattle Times

Most people that read the newspaper online or in print get a glance at the headlines and often do not read the article unless it catches their attention. So based on that... Who read the PI article and who read the Times article? What type of people will want to know the negative news and what type of people go after positive trends? Not only that... what about those that don't even read the article? If you only read the headline then your take will be completely different than someone that read the headline in another paper. Yet, the article is based on the same statistics!!! Is the real estate market seeing an "upward trend" or is it "continuing to fall?"

So here are the statistics.
The NWMLS reports that last month's median house price was $448,500. That's almost $19,000 above February and about $10,000 higher than March. It was up 2% from March. Market heading UP.

A total of 2,419 King County houses and condos were sold last month, up slightly from March. This can show a trend that prices are going slightly higher. Market heading UP.

The county's median price, $448,500 was down 3.5 percent from the median price of $465,000 in April 2007. Market DOWN.

Seattle's median house price in April was $440,000, down 2.4 percent from March. This was after two months at $450,000. However, that's based on a relatively small number of sales — 516, about a third of the county's total. Market DOWN?

April's pending sales total for the 19 counties the listing service covers was the highest in eight months. Market UP.

April's pending sales fell 32 percent from April 2007, according to a news release accompanying the numbers. Market DOWN.

Houses were selling briskly, according to a Windermere analysis, which found that a little less than half of in-city houses sold within a 30 days. A quarter more within two months. Market UP.

My take on it... yes the market is down from last year maybe down 20%-30%.... but we are heading for pretty good market for the coming year... with prices slightly lower.

Mortgage lending has tightened back to where it used to be... buyers will have to actually "qualify" for a loan and have some money to put down so they will have built in equity.

I am most concerned about the impact of the gas/fuel prices affecting our entire economy.

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