Where Retail Goes, Will Real Estate Follow?

Retailers seem very happy with sales so far this holiday season.  Even booksellers, according to today's New York Times, have been seeing big increases.  Given the lackluster sales in the past few seasons, this seems to indicate that consumers have loosened their purse strings.

What does that mean for real estate?  While the fact that someone will buy a book doesn't necessarily mean that they will buy a house, the fact that someone won't buy a book almost certainly means that they will not make a large purchase like a house.  So it's a prerequisite that consumers have to feel more confidence before the real estate market will improve.  Hopefully, we're almost there.  Given the historic low interest rates, it's hard to believe that we haven't gotten there already.  Perhaps the start of a new year will push us over into a seller's market, or at least into a balanced one.