“Home sales,” writes Housing Wire, “are experiencing the equivalent of an Indian Summer.” That’s because — it says — a report from RE/MAX says that August home sales were up over last year.

August home sales reached a level 18% higher than August 2010, according to the latest RE/MAX national housing report.

Normally, June is the highest sales month for homes. This year both July and August show higher numbers.

(Emphasis mine.)

Astounding! It’s almost as if some kind of tax incentive had expired last June causing July and August home-sales numbers to be artificially low (and making 2011′s numbers look great by comparison).

Oh, wait.

Check it out, yo — here’s a chart of June, July, and August home sales in Virginia since 2007. Notice anything odd about 2010? Like, say, a huge jump in June and a huge dip in July and August?

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After a dip like that it can’t be a surprise that the next year — that is, 2011 — looks good by comparison.

Take 2010 out of the equation and you have a much more natural looking graph:

 image

Unfortunately, it’s a graph that’s still moving down, at least for these three months.

Hey, we’re all about reporting happy news. But we’re also gonna tell you the bad stuff — there’s nothing to be gained by being artificially optimistic.