Real estate stream of consciousness

So we statrt with the Trib: East Liberty Target counts on food shoppers.  Points for mentioning Mansmann’s department store.  How come nobody ever mentions any of the Autenreith’s that were all around town?

Which just makes me wonder… how many residential townhomes could you fit within the footprint of the Shakespeare St. Giant Eagle? or I suppose of the entire Shady Hill Plaza where it sits is the better question. Just idle, and hypothetical mind you, questions is all.

Speaking of real estate.  Nationally the news of late has been almost universally bad with mostly accelerating declines went it comes to the state of real estate markets. See just a few headlines:

MSNBC: The housing slump is far worse than you think-Key housing market statistics point to years of stagnation

BloombergBusinessWeek: The Housing Horror Show Is Worse Than You Think

WashPo: Shiller Says U.S. Housing Market `Stuck in the Doldrums’

Yet our news today is sublimely understated. PG: Home Values Rise in Region.  Do the division and the annual % increase is really quite remarkable in absolute terms, but in light of what is happening everywhere else is another thing altogether.  Given low inflation, the ‘real’ real estate appreciation here continues to be unprecedented in the region’s history.   Some headlines still emphasize slow transaction flow: PBT:Pittsburgh region home sales down in June (and I am not sure what the ‘average median home price’ is quoted in that piece means), but again I am not sure transaction flow as a metric means as much as some think.  What if transaction flows are down because the demand out there can’t find a local supply of real estate it is looking for? What would you expect to see?   Rising values maybe?  Then there is this big national issue that so many folks elsewhere are trapped in underwater mortgages that they can’t sell and move on which is probably a big part of what is going on.

To complete the trifecta the Trib headline is conflicted: Home sales dip, but average prices rise, but buried in it may be the true headline of it all in a quote from a local real estate professional saying “prices continue to appreciate despite fewer sales because there are fewer, low-priced foreclosed properties on the market”. If true, that is the story.  I have not seen enough data to either concur or not, but in many ways I am the last to find out these things.

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