One thing that Jim is no longer doing: comparing current data to bubble-era data--and with very good reasons: it was interesting, curious, anomalous but ultimately irrelevant. If you need a house right now, you need a house.
However, this blog will continue to do so because that's what bubble blogs do, and for these reasons:
- Many of those bubble-era buyers made the purchase with the expectation that they'd be selling now.
- A number of bubble-era buyers are going to face foreclosure or short sales in 2012.
- It is many of the bubble-era buyers, now sellers, who still have inflated asking prices because they need to get back the bubble-era value of the house during a sale. Or they actually believe the house has appreciated since they bought it (the "exception to the rule" idea of homeownership).
- There are fewer buyers now but more homes. More coming on the market due to Boomer Retirement. And more new homes are being built--because that's what many current buyers want, since they know they will be staying 6-10 years.
- The volume of transactions during the peak of bubble era (roughly 1999-2008) was higher than it will ever be for the next decade.
- Prices during the peak of bubble era were higher than they will be for the next decade (except in the occasional micro-market).
(Yes, the last two bullets points are fairly serious predictions.)
See Albemarle County Data. See City of Charlottesville Data.