Real estate sales have always tied closely to the index of consumer confidence. Buyers' attitudes toward spending in general matter as much as interest rates to our level of sales. The index has been going up most of the time over the past couple of years, rising even before we noticed an uptick.
Now, although the real estate market is much improved, the consumer confidence index is wobbling. The past couple of months have seen declines, and, although we aren't seeing its effects directly, we know that the market recovery has always been shaky. Every change in the stock market or mortgage policy makes us nervous. We cannot count yet on the rising tide to carry us back to a strong sales climate.
We certainly can keep our fingers crossed that the recent dip is just that--a dip. Also, it seems as though our improvement has come disproportionately from first-time buyers, who might be less inclined by age (they can't remember past downturns), life status (they are in the peak years of household formation), and risk profile (they tend to be less conservative), to worry quite as much about statistics. Let's hope so.