When it comes to Real Estate, it is important to look at Local Trends, not National Trends. I'm sure you've heard the saying "the most important thing in real estate is Location, Location, Location." I couldn't have said it better myself.
Real Estate can be broken down into two major categories: Commercial & Residential. But these markets can be broken down even further. Residential markets can be broken down to: detached single family, attached single family, 1-4 unit, and condominiums. These markets too, can be broken down further into additional sub-markets. I could go on for quite some time, so I will stop there. But I've seen it broken down to the point of a home on one side of the street would sell for 10% more than a model match home on the opposite side of the street.
Here is an example of why you need to look locally, not nationally(or even regionally). I keep hearing on the radio, on TV, and even from other real estate professionals that things are "slow." Well, I took a look at some sales data in my home town of Chelmsford, MA and this is what I found:
|Chelmsford Single Family Sales (May thru July)|
|# of Sales||104||71||94||89|
|Chelmsford Condominium Sales (May thru July)|
|# of Sales||69||50||58||40|
|Source:MLS Property Information Network|
It is generally agreed on that the peak of the Chelmsford Residential Real Estate Market occurred in 2005. While values are down since the peak, the chart above shows the number of sales in the typically busy months of May, June, and July have remained relatively stable over the past four years.
While the number of sales per year and per month have dropped since the peak in 2005, Chelmsford remains a desirable town. This is reflected in the high number of people who have and continue to buy homes in Chelmsford.
|Chelmsford Single Family Sales (Jan thru Dec)|
|Year||# of Sales|
|Chelmsford Condominium Sales (Jan thru Dec)|
|Year||# of Sales|
While the number of condominium sales in town has dropped this year (the numbers above are year to date as of August 13, 2008), with 4-1/2 months remaining in 2008 the number of single family home sales is on pace to fall within the range of the numbers seen in 2006 and 2007.
If you are thinking about buying your first home or selling your current home, things may not be as bad as the media is making it out to be. Do me a favor, check with a local real estate professional and find out what's going on in your neighborhood.
Remember to think locally,
John LaBelle - Real Estate Consultant