I just got my latest newsletter out, and here is the most recent real estate update I sent to my friends and past clients...
As expected, January usually sets the low mark for the year for Ada County home sales and that is true again for 2009. Single Family Homes sold in January were a meager 237, a 23% decline from January 2008. Remember that I mentioned in the December newsletter that last year we started the year with a 38% decline, so you know I am looking for bright spots. Traffic at Open Houses and individual showings have both been lower than we've been used to, although with the low interest rates of the last couple weeks that is changing.
One sign of that is the increasing number of contracts Pending. Currently there are 527 homes under contract which is a big jump from the 459 we started the year with. One of my Title company contacts told me that they saw a number of sales close with loans at rates below 5% a week or so ago (although the rates have again gone back over 5% for now). Rates at that really historic low make it easy for some to make the decision to buy. And considering that the inventory of active listings hasn't changed from January's 3635, perhaps we are in a calmer place in our market.
One interesting thing the data shows is that the sales are being made in a bit lower price level in the market. Last year's median price in January was $217,500, while this year it was $180,000. This is a 17% decline year over year. While that implies lower prices, it also more strongly indicates that buyers are working in the lower levels of the market. The "expensive new construction boom" we had two and three years ago is over, so those sales don't affect our numbers as strongly as they did then. Another way to show that is to see that of the sales in January this year, 60% of them were homes priced below $200,000. Last January only 40% of the homes sold were below $200,000, and in 2007 it was barely 36%. That is quite a market change! And one last tidbit, it should come as no surprise to know the length of time on market has increased from 73 in 2008 to 90 days this year, according to MLS figures.
We don't know what 2009 will bring, but if you plan to buy or sell this year and I can be of service to you, please call me. And if not you, I would love your referral for a friend.
Thanks! Bill (208) 921-9512