Like the rest of the country, the Tucson Real Estate market has taken its share of lumps over the last year or so. However, we have been seeing a reduction in inventory over the past nine months, which is the first step towards a recovery. Will we continue this trend or will national economic woes along with the ongoing foreclosures have an ill effect on our market? Let's look at the numbers.
Note: These numbers are from August 2008 so we do not yet know what effect the current shenanigans on Wall Street will have on our local home buyers and sellers.
Home Sales Volume and Home Sales Units
As is typical for the current market, both Home Sales Volume and Home Sales Units are less in August of 2008 than they were in Tucson in August of 2007. We are still seeing the gap being closed in home sales units while the gap in the volume has increased. Why? A lot of our sales are short sales and foreclosures and even homeowners whose homes don't fall into those categories are being affected by those numbers. So basically the price of homes is lower than the price last year so even if we sold exactly the same amount of homes, the volume would be lower.
Home Sales units decreased year over year by 17%, a slight improvement over July's numbers of a 20% decrease comparing to 2007. Compared to last month (July 2008) we see a decrease of 4.4% which is not bad for this time of year. Typically things slow down from July to August.
Median and Average Sales prices
The median and average sales prices, while typically not telling the whole story, are actually very interesting to me this month. Our median sales price in July of 2008 was $199,900, down from $217,000 the year before. In August, the median sales price plummeted to $185,000. This tells us that more lower priced homes sold than higher priced ones this month. This makes sense when you consider that so many of our sales are foreclosures and short sales. As a result, our average sales priced dipped to $238,504 in August of 2008, a 13% decrease from last year.
Well, we certainly improved in the Pending Contracts this month as opposed to last month in Tucson. We had an 8.5% decrease in pending contracts from last month, again keeping in line with the trend of real estate slowing down at the end of the summer into the fall months. However, it was only a 14% decrease year over year, whereas last month the decrease was 46% year over year. We are headed in the right direction, but we are far from being out of the woods.
Active Listings and New Listings
Here in Tucson our Active listings decreased both month over month and as compared to last year, but our new listings showed a 16% increase over last month. Overall our active listings decreased by a mere 1.4%, which is negligible. In order for us to be continuing to clear inventory, that number should have been much greater considering the time of year that we are in.
I estimate that we have a 4.3 month supply of homes currently if we continue to get as many Pending and Solds as we did in August. However, using that method I am counting Pending listings which will be counted next month as Sold listings. If I calculate only using Sold listings versus Active Listings, we have an 8.6 month supply still active. I believe that number is more accurate and really reflects what sellers are experiencing out there right now.
The Great Economic Shake-Up
Anyone who has read or watched the news over the past two weeks knows that Wall Street has had an enormous shake-up with Fortune 500 companies such as Lehman Brothers claiming bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch selling itself to Bank of America, and AIG requiring $85 billion from the government to stay liquid. As of this writing, our government is hammering out the details of a $700 billion buy-out of illiquid assets (namely underperforming mortgage loans), but we have yet to see the details.
Consumer confidence is such a major factor in whether the value of our stocks go up or down and when banks are unable to unload their assets, they do not have the money to lend and the entire financial world here in the U.S. gets frozen. This happened on a much smaller scale here in Tucson and around the United States when banks such as First Magnus who were simply selling huge pools of loans as opposed to lending their own money were suddenly unable to sell their loans and were forced to stop originating new loans.
Obviously if the government bail-out does not perform as desired we could still have trouble for quite a while. Right now I am seeing an increase in cash buyers and now is a good time for them to buy since prices are low and they can be certain of being able to close the deal. If the government bail-out performs well, then we could see more loans being made and our market continuing to recover.
The numbers for this market analysis are based on August 2008 and September's numbers won't be available until next month. They won't even really reflect buyers' and sellers' reactions to what has happened in the financial world, so in terms of how our market responds to the current crisis, we won't have a very clear picture until November or December of 2008. I personally still have investors who are looking to take advantage of the current market and are even anxious to get their money out of the bank and into an investment like real estate which should increase in value over the next few years.