Some of Alan Ball's friends tell him he's

the most negative person they know

. So he laughed when SFR told him he was the most optimistic person we'd spoken to all day.

Ball, who manages Southwest Title & Escrow, keeps a close eye on Santa Fe housing sales and writes a monthly newsletter on the topic. It's been gloomy reading for some time. But July's home sales figures had him

sounding almost cheery

. Last month, he writes, brought "

the first increase, same period year to year, since June 2006!

We were due for some positive news..."

No kidding. But it was a slight—again,



The specific number: July 2008 total homes sold in Santa Fe City/County was 113. The same period for 2009 shows 121 sales. While that is a nice 7% improvement, we need a few more of those to get back some of the nearly 50% we have given up in sales results over the last 3 years.

Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce President Simon Brackley tells SFR that Ball's news is somewhat encouraging, but "it's going to take a while until the construction industry recovers.

Until we get some building going on, the carpenters and roofers and plasterers are going to be hurting


Ball writes:

The rumors of the national housing market turning the corner are in the statistics, and we see improvement locally too. We are far from recovery, but at least we have taken the first step...

I believe we'll have a respectable August and September and then we will need to regroup. Sellers who have not identified a buyer by this fall will want to rethink their strategy. If you are unwilling or unable to reduce the price of your home enough to attract a serious buyer, you should probably take it off the market.