The national media reported on March 3rd that sales of previously owned U.S. homes tumbled 7.7% in January, reversing the prior month's gains. To compare our local Palm Springs area real estate market to the national stats we crunched our own local MLS numbers and found a similar 7% decline for January '09 compared to the same month in '08.

Being curious to see if this sales trend continued into February, we next examined February's numbers, which showed a whopping 18.5% sales increase compared to the same month in '08. While homes priced under $500,000 continue to account for the vast majority of desert home sales, we are starting to see some upward trends in the super-luxury homes of over $2 million as well, especially in Palm Desert, La Quinta and Rancho Mirage.

Another interesting trend in '09 is that the number of days that a property was on the market declined in both January and February for homes that sold under $500,000. These homes are now selling faster than last year and agents are now starting to receive more multiple offers on some properties.