For more than 500 years, home sellers have turned to Jesus' earthly father for help locating a buyer. Like a litmus test, sales of his 4-inch statues -- which sellers plant head down on their property -- ebb and flow with the tides of the real estate market.I wrote this article for the LA Daily News two summers ago, after the housing market had begun to stall but long before it shorted out. At this point, I think most hopeful sellers have given up on St. Joseph, too.
Lately, they've been flying off Christian gift store shelves. And sellers testify they've turned into believers.
"Whether it is divine intervention or faith -- or who knows? -- definitely something is working," said Brian Moore, a Glendale real estate agent.
Moore, who was raised Catholic, first heard about the St. Joseph phenomenon six months ago from a colleague who, like him, was having trouble selling a home.
Moore bought and buried a statue on each of six properties he was listing. Each entered escrow that week.
Because some people think the practice is a silly superstition, Moore said, he sometimes buries the statues without telling the homeowner.
"You don't know how people will react," he said. "But I believe that it works -- absolutely."