The slow 1st Quarter sales numbers reflect an unusually low level of buyer activity in December through February. Whether that was due the weather in the rest of the country or buyer nervousness about the general economy or some other “X Factor” is hard to say. But, more recently, we have seen an up-tick in buyers visiting, particularly from Mid-western and Northeastern folks who are really fed up with the soul-numbing severity of winters back in “The Old Country.” Remember that it takes a month or two before that activity shows up in the Closed Sales column. With things picking up in March and April, we can expect to see, as we did last year, a healthy spring market bump in the weeks ahead.
Inventory of foreclosed properties declining
One bright spot for sellers is the Luxury Home Market, where closed and pending sales are already well ahead of a strong showing in 2104 and inventory is down about 9%.
Another is the Condominium/Townhome Sector. Sales there are up about 10% over 2014. The Average Price per Square Foot is up 4%, finally breaking the $200 mark. And, the Sale-to List-Price Ratio there is 97%.
Vacant Land Market is still in something of a stall. Closed and pending sales so far this year have trailed early 2014 a bit, but the Median Recorded Selling Price has taken roughly a 15% hit. Again, I expect to see that gain some momentum as the year goes on – and, certainly, in the long run – but, so far, we’ve seen a pretty anemic start in the land Sector.Roy E. Grimm
The continued disappearing act performed by distressed properties, however, is an excellent indicator of a healthful market in general. The decline in the inventory and sales numbers of foreclosed and short-sale properties has been dramatic in the past two years. In 2014, 93% of the sales were made up of non-distressed homes, up from 82% in 2013. So far this year, it’s 95%, and likely to go higher. The percentage of distressed homes in the active inventory is down to about 1%. We will always have, like unemployment, some distressed properties with us, but it appears now that we’re back to a more normal margin.
Over-all, slow start or not, we have a fairly well balanced real estate market that appears poised for long-term sustainable growth.
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