EDITORIALS

Take a deep breath

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

Life as we know it is over. Start praying and hoarding food. Get ammunition for the guns.  

The news coming out of the Illinois Association of REALTORS last week was not encouraging.

It was sky falling stuff.  

“After nearly a full year of home sales gains statewide, the rush to meet the home buyer tax credit deadline combined with weak job and economic reports led to a lull in Illinois home sales activity in July,” the association reported.

Statewide total home sales — including single-family homes and condominiums — in July were down 29.7 percent. The median price in July 2010 was $160,000, down 4.3 percent from $167,185 in July 2009.

Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory of the University of Illinois, said, “The anemic growth of private sector jobs is dampening chances for a more robust recovery. The expectation has to be that the slowing of the national economy will affect Illinois’ growth prospects over the remaining months of the year,” said.

Egad! The sky is falling.  Oh, wait, there is more.

A little further into the statistics some encouraging news emerges. Year-to-date sales remain positive, up 15.0 percent January through July 2010 with 65,146 sales compared to 56,650 home sales for the same period in 2009. The year-to-date median sales price was off -0.9 percent to $155,000 from $156,330 for 2009.

Never mind that sky is falling stuff.

The unemployment rate nationally was unchanged in July at 9.5 percent; the Illinois unemployment rate lowered -0.1 point to 10.3 percent in July from the previous month.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 4.58 percent in July 2010, down from 4.74 percent during the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. Last year in July it averaged 5.52 percent.

Maybe things are not as bad as originally forecast. That is the danger in accepting dismal news outright. Dig deeper and a better picture may emerge.  

Everyone is being inundated with economic forecasts of doom and gloom. Imagining the worst is much easier than trying to sprinkle some optimism into the mix.

But, we must all ask ourselves one question. “Is optimism or pessimism more helpful?