Brace Yourselves

Here we go:

NYT TUESDAY FRONT PAGE: Real estate slowdown that began in a handful of cities this summer has spread to almost every hot housing market in the country… In Manhattan, the average sales price fell almost 13% in the third quarter… Developing…

That’s the no-link teaser from Drudge. I’ll have more once the NYT Tuesday edition goes up on the web. Meantime, you can read all about it here and here and here and (from Will Collier) here.

I’ve been harping on the housing-market bubble meme for three years now, making me an awful lot like those MSM economists who have correctly predicted six of the last three recessions. (That’s not a typo; it’s an old joke, recycled.)

But just because I got the timing wrong (and might have yet again) doesn’t mean that I’m wrong (or that Will is wrong) about the dangers you’ll find in the many links above.

UPDATE: Here are the numbers:

In Manhattan, the average sales price fell almost 13 percent in the third quarter from the second quarter, according to a widely followed report to be released today by Miller Samuel, an appraisal firm, and Prudential Douglas Elliman, a real estate firm. The amount of time it took to sell a home was also up 30.4 percent over the same period.

In Fairfax County, Va., outside Washington, the number of homes on the market in August rose nearly 50 percent from August 2004.

In the Boston suburb of Brookline, Mass., where many three-bedroom houses cost $1 million or more, the inventory of homes for sale has increased in just the last few weeks, said Chobee Hoy, a broker there.

For-sale listings have also swelled throughout California, according to the California Association of Realtors. In the San Francisco Bay area, they have increased 16 percent in the last year, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage said.

“We are seeing a market in transition,” Leslie Appleton-Young, the association’s chief economist, said.

The samples used are pretty limited, so it’s impossible to tell just how wide-spread the housing decline is. It could just be regional problems – the coasts burn hotter in the up times, and fall farther in the down times. Then again, we might really be in a housing bubble, and we might have suffered a very large prick.

So. Let’s take an informal poll of VodkaPundit readers. If you’re a real estate agent, or you’re in the process of buying or selling a home, click on the Comments and let everyone know what your recent experiences are. I’ll summarize and publish the results at the end of the week.