Buy before rates rise or wait, hoping prices fall? Thank you for arguing

Thank You For Arguing Book Cover

A recent post in the WSJ says there are good reasons to argue there will be a BEAR housing market or a BULL market in 2014.  So it’s no surprise there’s heated debate on about what’s hot and what’s not.  Here’s where we left off:

@beermeister Good counter. That’s a reasonable take on seasonality, and what’s important to buyers. Shall we take 2014 month by month, quarter by quarter in 2014, and argue about what the numbers mean and their implications for buyers and sellers?

Seasonality creates distortions

If we’re all trying to understand what’s really happening in the market, can we agree to throw out what happens between March 1 and ______, when the media runs front page stories about bidding wars, and industry cheerleaders hype bidding wars $100K over asking price as they did in 2013?

Can we further agree that full disclosure and balanced reporting on stats and underlying threats or strengths is important for informed decision making?

Media bias can create distortions, too

Maybe I haven’t had enough caffeine, so can someone compare the two links below?  Do you see the same thing I do? If so, why does the Boston Globe report on November 2013 sales and year-over-year prices, but NOT month-over-month price movements?

Boston Globe vs Mass. Association of Realtors (MAR) press release:

Excerpts from MAR

“On a month-to-month basis, the November median selling price (of single family homes) was DOWN 1.1 percent from $320,000 in October 2013.”

“On a month-to-month basis, the November median selling price (of condos) was FLAT from $295,000 in October 2013.”

In contrast, doesn’t this repetition of words in the Globe coverage give the impression that prices are still rising?

  • “prices continued their swing upward”
  • “rising prices”
  • “rapid increase of prices”
  • “prices escalating”

No wonder some locals still think we’re in a “frenzied” market, whereas others with a national perspective recently published a chart showing a plunge in sales of existing homes, concluding:

“”The slump in existing home sales has set the recovery in housing market activity back by 12 months,”…”  (See

Trends to Watch in 2014

Looking forward, the WSJ says there are 5 Things to Watch in Housing in 2014: (please share this link with your social networks)

What do you think will happen when December 2013 prices released in the next 10 days, and pending prices for January 2014 are released in a month?  Shall we meet offline as we’ve done with Bubble Hours in the past to discuss, present arguments and engage in civil debate about the housing market, whether signs point to a Bull market or Bear?  Real Estate Cafe is eager to continue experimenting with an “unconference” format to engage and inform homebuyers.

Towards that end, do you have predictions for 2014; and given this Redfin research, what advice would you give to potential homebuyers about buying this year versus waiting for prices to fall?

Agents Predict That Mortgage Rates Above 5.5 Percent Would Curb Sales and Price Growth in 2014

Posted in Bubble Hour, Buyer agent, Defensive Homebuying, Housing bubble, Housing forecasts, Market trends, Price trends, Real Estate Bubble, Seasonality, Timing the market

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