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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A trend or just an uptick?

I track quite a few statistics on home sales in my little local market - see my Web site and click on Real Estate Market Statistics. Sometimes other statistics just fall out of what one is already tracking. recently I've noticed a couple of things in the data that I keep.

One is that, even though record foreclosures were just reported for Oakland County, the percentage of sales of foreclosed homes vs. regular sales has dropped for the last couple of months. That means that people are out buying regular homes, instead of just foreclosed homes. For a while, back in the winter, the sales of foreclosed homes vs regular homes was up over 50% of total sales. Recently foreclosed home sales have represented less than 25% of sales. That's a good thing.

The second anecdotal observation is that recent sales have been made up of more higher priced homes than has been the case in the last 4-6 months. For a while there, it seemed that there was nothing selling over about $250,000. Now there seem to be homes even in the "dead zone" - above $300K - selling on a weely basis. That's certainly another good sign.

As I look at the charts that I update weekly, I see that the median home sales listed prices and final sold prices are also trending up. The number of homes in the inventory is up slightly, but then so is the rate at which homes are selling, so the Days-On-Market (DOM) is slightly declining and the projected Time to Sell (the average length of time that a new listing coming on the market is projected to take to sell) is down.

There are still price categories that are inordinately high, in terms of the DOM. In the Oakland County markets that I track, the Milford $400-500K category is still almost 2 years and in the Livingston County markets the $300-400 category for Genoa Township is about 2 years. Some of that is just stubborness onthe part of a few sellers who have been on the market for years and who refuse to lower their prices to market levels.

Now, I will admit that we are in the absolute prime selling season right now; so, maybe I'm just grasping at straws here. People are scrambling to get into a new home before the school season starts again in September, so that is having an affect; however, I also sense that there is a lot of pent up demand out there and people are getting tired of trying to wait out the current economic downturn before buying. Interestingly, most of the buyers with whom I'm working are not in any way related to the automotivce industry, so maybe that helps a bit. We can't seem to catch a break there.

So, are these trends or just anomolies? Let's be positive here and believe that we are seeing the beginnings of the turnaround for our area. I'll keep watching these numbers to see if they stay positive as we head into the fall season.

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