The headline of staff writer Tammy Murga’s Dec. 22 report in The Signal Business section stated, “Home Sales Up From 2017” — this headline caught my eye. And it seems contrary to the major content of the article, which reported that “local sales this year we are likely to conclude with closed escrows down nearly 7 percent from 2017 and condominium transactions 15 percent lower as of November.” The headline referred to a report that November home sales are up 10 percent from last year, possibly an anomaly.
The article also reported that inventories have risen, and resale prices have softened. “Sizeable double-digit increases” in inventory have occurred since June, with the “monthly inventory average about 17 percent higher than in 2017.”
My conclusion from reading the entire article was that the real estate market has softened in 2018, yet this was not the message one would get from reading the headline. There are likely several factors at play, but the article did not address these contributing issues. Is it mortgage interest rate increases in the past year? Or reduced consumer confidence as exhibited in the drop in equity markets? Could it be a result of the tax reform legislation that reduced deductibility of state income tax plus property tax to $10,000, which for some buyers may make home ownership less financially desirable?
While I appreciate the information on local home sales that is regularly provided in The Signal, I would suggest that in the future the business editor be more consistent in selecting a headline that represents the content of the article. Additionally, some recognition of the factors involved in the market trends would be welcomed.