December was a good month for the Ames housing market even with the seasonal fluctuations in the real estate market with the holidays and Iowa snowfalls and cold temperatures. The supply of inventory continues to be low (10.3% lower than 2007 and 25% lower than 2006), and the number of pending sales remaining strong with 22 homes going off the market as a pending status in December.
The listing supply (period of time needed to clear the housing market inventory) has gone from 15 months (2007) down to 11 months (2008) for Ames area for the month of December.
The increase of sales is contributes to the affordable housing and financing that is available for buyers. Sellers have had to become more competitive with price and condition of their homes than in the past few years. A positive note for the seller, home sales for 2008 averaged a 1.2% increase in value for the Ames area compared to many areas in the country experiencing a 5-35% decrease in home values. This indicates that homes purchased in our area are still a safe investment in contrast to a volatile stock market.
Home sellers should note that while the numbers of sales are 12.2% higher this quarter in contract to the previous year a large number of homes are remaining on the market unsold. As of Jan. 2nd, 2009 we found that 174 of the 242 listings in the Ames area had been on the market in excess of 60 days; still indicating a need for more appropriate pricing. The homes that sold in December were on the market an average of 129 days.