A VERY FAST START
For the first three months of 2014 real estate sales are off to a blistering start. Total transactions are well ahead of any year since 2009. Except for a slight decline in the below $1 million segment all the price segments are seeing robust growth. The lowest end of the market has seen significant sales over the last few years so we attribute this small decline to the combination of lower inventory as well as escalating prices pushing listing price above the $1 million price point.
The explosion in sales in the $2 million to $6 million segment is compelling. After a year in which those sales lagged (the $2 million to $4 million segment for 2013 was off 31% from 2012), this is a bit of a surprise. This trend will be worth watching as we head in to the selling season. But for the supposedly quiet winter months, this has been a very active period.
A STARTLING TREND
Over the last several years the low end of the market, as defined by sales under $1 million has been very active. In 2011 the local economy started to shake off the recession. Summer visitors had returned in force and the construction industry, after 4 years of declining activity, started to rebound. With banks lending and mortgage rates historically low, the low end of the market took off. With prices somewhat constrained by the resale of foreclosed properties the market was very active. In 2013 53% of all sales were below $1 million. As a result inventory has declined dramatically. From year-end 2010 to 2013 inventory of houses for sale under $1 million has declined from 134 to 66. As of this March 31 that inventory stood at 42, only 19% of all the houses for sale. This augurs as the most compelling statistics of the resurgence in real estate sales.
AN INVENTORY SNAP SHOT
As the market has improved, prices have firmed and started to move higher. Most noticeably is the decline in listings under $1,000,000. In correlation is the increase, as a percentage, of the $4 million to $10 million listings. Some of this increase is due to lack of sales from last year. Median days on market is a robust 391. Comparing 2010 to 2013 the percentage move in the three highest segment price categories is significant. It will be worth observing buying trends to see if the Buyers follow.