- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 3, 2011

December is the slowest sales month of every year, so it’s always encouraging to see sales perk up again in January. This year, we have reasons to be especially encouraged.

January sales were up 13 percent over January 2010, which is surprising. As you recall, the federal government was offering homebuyers thousands of dollars in tax credits at the beginning of 2010. The credits sparked an increase in sales last year - causing me to wonder what this year would look like without the credits.

No worries. Considering that the economy isn’t much better and that mortgage interest rates aren’t much different from last January’s rates, it is very encouraging to see 6,100 home sales during the first month of 2011.

In a couple of weeks, I will write about February sales, and we have every reason to believe those figures will show an even larger increase than January’s. Why? Remember those huge snowfalls last February?

All that snow put a damper on sales then, so I expect to see a large increase in sales when we compare this February to February last year.

As long as I’m setting expectations, let’s talk about March and April. If you look at the fever chart at the bottom, you can see how sales exploded in March and April 2010 because those tax credits were about to expire.

It seems unlikely to me that we are going to match that level of sales activity in March and April of this year. So I’m just preparing you for news reports that are going to say: “March sales were down by ‘blank’ percent.” It’s an apples-and-oranges thing when comparing anything to March and April 2010.

Send e-mail to csicks@gmail.com.

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