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Housing market headlines can be misleading

Location affects how real estate market behaves

On Jan. 20, 2005, a headline in the San Francisco Chronicle stated that Bay Area home sales were down and that prices slid. If you, like many readers, scanned only the headlines, you might have thought home prices in the area had plummeted. Actually, they rose 14.3 percent between December 2004 and December 2005, according to DataQuick Information Systems. Sensational headlines sell newspapers. Who wants to read about a real estate market that's not as robust as it was a year ago--one in which home prices aren't going up as fast as they were this time last year? Ho-hum news doesn't do much for newspaper sales. Behind the scenes of the Bay Area home sale market, the real story is not that home prices "slid" from one month to the next. It's that the market is doing surprisingly well despite the negative press. In a nutshell, well-priced homes that are properly prepared for sale are selling for good prices and within a reasonable period of time. While this is not the case in all markets, ...

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