It's funny what people will cry over. For instance, The Washington Post  reports that the buyer of an auctioned Ryland Group (NYSE:RYL) condo wept tears of joy on hearing that a $429,999 bid was accepted for a home originally priced more than 20% higher. Does that emotional release imply signs of a housing turnaround? Hardly.

A little further into the article, we find out the family was the only bidder. In other words, they should have been weeping tears of "we coulda paid less."

Or maybe they were weeping about the location. Unless I mistake Ryland's own directions, they seem to be talking about a community located within earshot of the busiest commuting highway in the D.C. area, in what looks like it was once a drainage ditch.

Good on the Post for blowing out the rest of the story with the truth about how awful the market has gotten in the supposedly setback-proof D.C. market. Ryland, which was forced to dump 140 homes this way, is only one of many trying anything to get houses off the books. Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE:HOV) led the way with a "Deal of the Century" "fire sale." Once prospective buyers see just how desperate builders have become, I think we'll be seeing deals of the century, and better, every day.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.