REAL ESTATE MARKET ASSESSMENT
Last week during the season's first snow temperatures plummeted and we had our first taste of winter. And it was chilly. But the cold snap was short lived unlike the current real estate market which appears to have frozen solid. While sellers wonder if the market will ever thaw, buyers seem to have gone into hibernation. With the holidays just around the corner, perhaps buyers are distracted. With all the negative press, perhaps buyers don't think that there are mortgage products available to them or that they will not qualify. However, there are very serious buyers who are actively looking for deals in the current market. Sellers that can undercut their competition are likely to attract those serious buyers out looking.
The supply of active listings has to some degree stabilized and prices should also stabilize in response. Supply and demand may now be in equilibrium. Basic economic theory cannot predict what will happen next. But, something must happen to encourage buyers to reenter the market - buyers earning more income, banks offering affordable mortgage products, or sellers lowering their asking price. Which will it be? Perhaps all three!
Inventory levels fell for the second month in a row to 4,243 active listings in Anne Arundel County at the end of November 2007 - down from the peak at the end of September when there were 4,646 active units on the market. Sold prices slipped less than 1% from last month but were up 3.6% from this time last year. Total volume was down 14.5% from October which was down 15.9% from September and off 18.3% from last year. More alarming for sellers is that the average list price to sold price ratio slipped to 90.2%.
There were 346 units sold in Anne Arundel County in November 2007, down from the 401 units sold in October. The number of active listings was 4,243 in November, down from 4,484 in October. The number of new listings taken in November was 730 in November, down from 927 listings taken in October. The average sold price was $415,771 in November, down slightly from $419,355 in October. The average list price was $461,138 in November, up slightly from $454,159 in October. The average number of days on market was 120 in November, down slightly from 123 in October. The average list price to sold price ratio was 90.2% in November, down from 92.34% in October. Total volume for November was $143,856,708 in November, down 14.5% from October.
There were 61 units sold in Annapolis in November 2007, down slightly from 64 units sold in October. The number of active listings was 883 in November, down from 954 in October. The number of new listings taken in November was 143, down from 186 listing taken in October. The average sold price was $561,546 in November, up 5.4% from $532,689 in October. The average list price was $606,151 in November, up 9.2% from $555,213 in October. The average number of days on market was 150 in November, up 13% from 133 in October. The average list price to sold price ratio was 92.6% in November, down from 94.9% in October. Total volume in November was $34,254,306, about the same as $34,092,066 in October.
According to Bankrate.com, the average national rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages is at 5.8%, down from 5.9% quoted this time last month. The National Average Composite Mortgage Rate is steady at 6.4% for November.
According to RealtyTrac.com, the number of pre-foreclosures in Anne Arundel County was 172 in November, up from 116 in October. The number of auction properties in the county was 393 in November, about the same as 391 in October. And, the number of bank owned properties was 167 in November, up from 151 in October.
So what can we expect for December? Sales are likely to slow as our attention focuses on our families and the holidays. Inventory levels will decline as sellers wait for the spring market. Prices are likely to fall where sellers are ready to make a deal to get their homes sold before spring. Sellers should expect to be on the market for a year or more. Buyers have choices in all price ranges. Sellers should take all competition seriously and should price below any direct competition. Where there are only a few buyers, sellers who want their homes sold now must get the serious buyers to look at their home FIRST! Lowest price, best condition, favorable terms will result in a faster sale.
While no one can predict the future with any certainty, one thing is certain - it remains a buyer's market. Buyers have large numbers of desirable properties from which to choose and sellers have lots of competition. A firm understanding of the market trends and forces is necessary for making the best real estate decisions. So, if you are serious about buying or selling a home in today's real estate market, contact Stephen Howell, Associate Broker, REALTOR®, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, at 410-923-3217.