The good news: May existing-home sales were up over April (2.4 percent, according to NAR). The bad news: They were down 3.6 percent from May 2008.

My conundrum when writing this: Do I focus on the good news, even though the year-to-year numbers are what really count? After all, there’s a lot to be said for keeping a positive outlook.

Besides, there are a couple of major caveats. First, these are national, not Virginia numbers, so they’re sullied by Arizona, California, Florida, and Nevada. Second, I don’t know yet whether the April-May jump was bigger in 2009 than in 2008. If it was, that’s another good sign.

So take the numbers as you see fit. They’re just numbers.