The sales numbers are still dismal, but enough time has passed now to say objectively that the single-family market bottomed out two years ago; it's the condo market that needs to improve before we can say that we are completely in a recovery.
Both nationally and locally, the ingredients are all there to say that we are over the hump of the poor housing market. Interest rates are low and will remain low; banks are beginning to loosen their stringent credit policies; the recent Greek austerity conclusion should help the international climate (there was much more concern on this point in Washington and Wall Street than we may ever know); the recent $25-plus billion mortgage settlement should pump money back into the economy (on a side note here ... this settlement is a slap on the wrist compared to the real trillion-dollar loss that the poor mortgage policies created); and the lower than normal inventory combined with the mild winter should all contribute to start a robust 2012.
The only unknown is will the consumer have the confidence needed to pull the trigger? Shortly after a recession, even though markets may rise, the memories of buyers tend to be short, leading to conservative investing. But the Newburyport real estate market should do fine; we are a destination, and history shows that we have pulled out better than the rest of the state. It's the buyers from 2004 to 2007 who need to have a little more patience.
• • •
Bill Barrows has been a local Realtor for 20 years. He can be reached at email@example.com.