Seems everywhere I go these days people are asking, "So how is the real estate business?" And it seems that many of my colleagues are getting the same question.
I happily am able to answer that with a heartfelt, "Great!" Yes, activity is certainly picking up out there. Open house traffic is increasing, even in those homes that hadn't had visitors for a while. Some homes are getting multiple offers, and the days on market don't seem to be hitting the three-digit numbers as often any more.
Are we out of the woods? Probably not. But what we've seen in Ozaukee and Washington county homes sales since January 1st of this year through today compared to the same time last year is promising. As you can see in the chart below, the number of single-family units sold in Ozaukee County is up 31% this year over the same time period one year ago. Prices, however, have dropped about 6%.
Washington County also saw an increase in number of units sold -- about 6% over the same time last year. Prices stayed just about the same.
It's important to understand, however, that because of shadow inventory -- those short sales and foreclosures that are expected to come on the market over the next several months -- prices are anticipated to drop a bit more through most of 2012.
If you are thinking about selling, now is the time to do it. And if you're thinking about buying, this is the time, as well, with interest rates hovering near and even below 4%.
I'm hopeful the worst is behind us and look forward to helping home ownership become a reality for more families and individuals in 2012.