Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

Home sales boom in ‘busted’ markets

Price drops lead to doubling in sales in some markets

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If we measured home sales the same way we do automobile sales, the housing market wouldn't look so bleak. The success of the auto industry is gauged by individual unit sales on a year-to-year basis. So if Detroit sells 275,000 vehicles one month as compared to 250,000 in the same month of the previous year, all things are swell. In comparison, housing studies focus on pricing. In California, for example, the median price of a home in March 2009 was $253,000, which was 39 percent lower than March 2008. So the market there doesn't appear to have stabilized. However, if one turns to sales statistics, there is a reversal of fortune: Sales of California single-family homes in March 2009 were up 64 percent from March 2008. The odd secret in America's housing data is that the markets -- most of California, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Florida -- that experienced the largest corrections after the bursting of the housing bubble, in 2009, are reporting the greatest percentage increases in h...