This time of year, “reduce” is a word we embrace when it comes to our waistlines—not so when applied to real estate. We have crossed into a buyer’s market, and local real estate agents tell me that the R word is scattered across local listing signs. How bad is the damage? My sources say it’s 2 to (breathe deeply) 10 percent—not nearly as frightening as what other markets across the country are experiencing. The local real estate market traditionally takes a nap during the holidays. But this year, it was in almost a drug-induced slumber. Jobs—our ace in the hole—saw the first monthly decline in 17 months. And we’re not unhurt by the national credit crunch. The Heritage at The Stoneleigh was put on hold; building starts have almost stopped, and any spec home builder looking for 100 percent financing is either living on a different planet or Rip Van Winkle. On the other hand, Angie Barrett sold her Beverly Drive home after many months on the market. Though she was less than thrilled with the sale price (which was confidential), she was happy to move into her beautiful new place at One Arts Plaza. We could all take a lesson in attitude from Angie.

Mary Candace Evans