Housing Market Conditions Across the Country
I just found an interesting site that allows you to check out market conditions where you are. Analysis of the local market is done by a local real estate agent. You can find out information about the community as well as the current trends in the market. Another plus: the site covers all of North American from Costa Rica to Canada, and all locations in between.
Now, the downside is that I discovered that not all of the market reviews are as current as you might like. For instance, I stumbled into a report on a part of Ontario where my wife has relatives, and the report for the market conditions was dated from July of this year, and this IS now September. The report indicated that the area was in the midst of a solid sellers market, with inventory of homes on the low side. However, based on our most recent family visit with these relatives on the Labour Day weekend, they said that the market is turning from a low inventory - sellers market to a more neutral or balanced market. They would know -- they are considering buying a new home themselves, with a growing family and a need for a bigger place.
The other downside is that the reviews are done by real estate agents. While the agents are probably most familiar with the market, they also have a vested interest in seeing the market much more positively than it might actually be. In fact, they might be a bit biased towards seeing the market as "balanced" at worst. Obviously, if the market is taking a serious downturn, it means bad news for the agent, and market downturns are often fed by psychological factors. So, they may not want to say that a market is moving to a buyer's market, since that means lower prices (and less commission for them).
Having said that, this site does have some good information if you are checking out a new area, or want some ideas of how the market is doing in your area. For instance, the reports on Dallas, Texas were current as of this week, and covered not just personal real estate but also commercial real estate. In fact, you could look at a variety of market evaluations by a number of different real estae professionals.
Interested in the Dallas market? Overall, it appears to be a neutral market with slightly rising prices. In fact, CNN Money says that the Dallas and Fort Worth are considered the 2nd and 3rd most undervalued real estate markets in the US. Need a house as a first time buyer? The median house price is a measly $165,000 US. (Sure beats the median home price of over $700,000 in Silicon Valley.) As low as the median price is, the market is slightly in favor of sellers, as the home inventory levels are actually down.
So, if you want to check out your area, take a look at http://realtytimes.com/rtmcrtop/home.htm.