The Case-Shiller index reported a larger than anticipated decline in prices month over month as well as quarter over quarter. While the news in general was not good, it wasn’t horrific either, and reflects the continued struggle in the economy and an oversupply of inventory. Yet as is always the case, real estate is local. Los Angeles while down, was not down as much as the national average. I would even suggest that if you excluded the inland areas and high desert, prices fared considerably better. The Conejo Valley continues to show overall weakness in sales, but not substantially so and not across all price ranges. Inventory hovers in the upper 800’s, which is low by historical standards for this time of year. Typically our inventory balloons in the fall. In fact in November 2007, there were more than 1300 homes actively being marketed for sale. What this means is that home buying is more difficult than buyers believe it should be, because the selection of properties remains somewhat stagnant, and sellers are not offering their homes at fire sale prices. Continued demand for good short sales is high as buyers perceive them to be “the best deal”, and since good quality REO’s are few and far between, many buyers have elected to remain on the sidelines. Expect this pattern to continue until unemployment improves, interest rates rise or inventory shrinks or grows. In other words, status quo until there is some catalyst that drives a change in the market conditions.