Signs of Recovery?

If housing starts are an indicator of an improving economy, then perhaps it is encouraging that there is a small pile of building materials on one of the cleared lots in my neighborhood. It’s a very small pile, about enough lumber to cut up for stakes to tie string between, and the lot hasn’t been graded (if that’s in the plans), but still it’s progress.

The real estate market here has been almost totally stagnant for several years (since about the time we put my late father’s house on the market, naturally), but the neighborhood also shows signs of optimism. Some neighbors who are about to be grandparents have decided to downsize, saying they want less house to keep up so it will be easier for them to get away to visit the new grandchild. (My thought: Where will you put the children and grandchildren when they come to visit you?) It’s entirely possible that some rich Yankee will be willing to pay $1.5 million for a 3300 SF house with a 400 SF screened porch overlooking the bay and an 800 SF guest house behind, so perhaps they’ll sell it.

At the same time, the owner of a cleared lot a block from the bluff has apparently decided that the market may now be ready to absorb another vacant lot at $395,000. Both of these properties are being offered For Sale By Owner, so all the owners have invested so far is a yard sign and a box of photocopied data sheets. Who knows? It just might work!

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