Signals are apparently turning mixed in the real estate market, which is probably good news for sellers who’ve heard nothing but doom and gloom in recent months.

A new report from the good folks at the Otteau Valuation Group in East Brunswick finds that Monmouth County home-sales contract volume in October was down just six percent from year-ago levels.

If that doesn’t sound all that positive, consider that the same measure was down 19 percent through the first nine months of the year.

It’s a “significant” improvement, says firm president Jeffrey Otteau, in that it comes at a time when the market typically cycles downward. The data, he says, “makes a strong argument that the current housing slump is more correction than crash.”

Otteau attributes the October strengthening to improved affordability after a five-year period in which home prices soared 87 percent while salaries rose just 16 percent. He also credits slightly lower interest rates, higher jobholding levels in New Jersey, and stabilizing energy costs after steep run-ups this year.

Statewide, sales contract volume was down 13 percent in October from year-prior level, after also declining 19 percent over the preceding nine months.

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