I learned from a wise man once that like a calendar, like a book, you read many things in this country "from left to right." If you want to see how things are going to be, look to the left and you'll see it coming. I always wondered what he meant until the housing bubble began.
Being in Jacksonville, Florida he said, "What's happening in California? What's happening in Las Vegas? What's happening in cities like those comparable in the West? That's what is coming." It did, oh boy, did it ever.
We saw the investors flock in. We saw house flipping. We saw people qualifying for loans that they should've never been able to get. These were reminiscent of the stories we'd heard were happening 'out west.' The lines of people 'out the door', the bidding on properties in bedlam, the appraisals coming in tens of thousands higher than the contract price. It truly was madness but it happened 'from Left to Right.'
When the 'bubble' popped and the Recession hit, it also occurred, generally, from left to Right. The events aren't perfect to bolster this idea but from a ground level Realtor you can make it out that a comparable city out West seemed to 'feel it' first. That's how it was in Jacksonville, Florida housing anyways. On the front-lines, we could see anecdotal evidence of 'what was coming.'
Now we're seeing the housing stabilization from Left to Right as the Foreclosures begin to 'top out'. When you look at the foreclosure sales, when you look at the data (outside of D.C.) you can see the same thing occurring. The numbers out west show stabilization better than a little while back as the foreclosures hit their peak. The REO sale numbers are fairing better and thus the wave East is looking to be coming.
Is 'it' over? No, probably not. We're still in the midst of cleaning up a big mess but slowly but surely we will start seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Price drops will be and have been more moderate, nicer homes are getting multiple bids, and those who have money for a down payment are getting loans. It takes a good Realtor to help navigate the mess for their customer but with patience and that good Realtor, homes ARE being bought and sold...don't believe the numbers?