December Market Report

From the Desk of Dan Elsea Real Estate One President of Brokerage Services

December sales activity was a good chance to see how the market is settling after the "almost" expiration and then extension of the tax credits.  Nationally, December pending sales showed some significant declines as a result of a huge activity bulge in October and November. Locally, our December sales grew over December of 2008, although at a declining rate (10% increase compared to nearly 40% in November vs. November of 08').  

You will also notice the number of markets in both the over and under $100,000 markets where the median sale price rose compared to December of 2008.  As discussed in prior months, this is due to the shifting of the homes being sold.  With fewer bank owned properties on the market, the extreme low end of each price category has dried up, forcing buyers to move up to more expensive homes.   There may be some evidence of a form of home value appreciation in the under $100,000 market. It shows up in bank owned properties being put on the market at higher values than they were last year (i.e., banks being less aggressive with low ball pricing because inventories are lower). It can be debated if this is true appreciation, but if not, it certainly is the first move towards appreciation (at least at the lower end of the market).

Here are our numbers for the month and the last quarter, we finished very strong and are carrying some great momentum into 2010!. In terms of closings, we almost beat our November numbers, which would have been the first time in our history! For the full year 2009, it was our second best year in terms of total number of transactions! However, the make up of those transactions was very different from those back in 2005. Financially Stressed transactions (Foreclosed, Short Sale or Leases) still make up 65% of our business, showing that the combination of the lure of great deals and immediate financial needs for many sellers creates activity, even in a recession. 
There will certainly be a few bumps as the market unfolds towards the end of the year so take advantage of the good momentum in the first half of 10', whether as a Seller (most buyer activity will be in the first half of 2010, so be aggressive in pricing) or Buyer (low rates, low prices, tax credits) or both. 


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