As spring turns slowly to summer here the real estate market has begun to show some signs of an uptick. According to Des Moines Area Association of Realtors data as reported in the June 11th Des Moines Register article "Des Moines Home Sales Rise 21% in May" sales are springing back to life.
The 21% rise as reported in the headline refers to a 21% increase in May unit sales over April's abysmal performance. Sales still lagged last May by -4% according to DMAAR, but the sales prices leaped 23% from April, according to the data presented by the Register's Donnelle Eller.
The Register quoted Realtor board sources that attributed the strong showing to a combination of low interest rates and the $8,000 tax credit. I'd say it's a pretty safe bet that they're right about that as job losses and business closures have continued to mount locally, which would probably have pulled sales down without some historically significant occurrences such as those mentioned. Tax refunds in late April probably added a little spice to the mix as well, as there were some pretty good tax breaks in there for lots of folks last year.
One curious note from the article was, quoting: "Homes were on the market an average of 108 days last month, six days more than May 2008 and 13 more days than in April." Although more homes sold and values were higher, homes are staying on the market longer as evidenced by the data. So if you're a listing agent and you've got some listings that seem to be getting market worn, take heart, you are not alone.
Hopefully May's strong showing will portend a good summer of sales for the area, although March was a hectic month that led to a really soft April. Sustaining a trend has been something the market seems to have been unable to do very effectively for the past eighteen months. I think were all hoping around here that sales will finally start to gain momentum, but you'll have to forgive me however if I don't jump on the bandwagon just yet. I'm still out planting as many signs as I can and not resting on any laurels, real or preceived.