Here is the newest edition of our LowryTeam.com Monthly Real Estate Trends Report for March 2011. This report, published monthly, provides a look back at the last six months worth of real estate data for West Chester, Beckett Ridge and Liberty Township, Ohio. It is a local trends report and makes no attempt to draw overall conclusions or make predictions for the larger real estate market. In fact we believe that anyone that makes an attempt to predict future, national real estate market conditions or draws conclusions on recent historical data nationally is just out of touch with reality. There is no such thing as a national weather forecast and there is no such thing as a real estate one either. ALL real estate is local!
The source of our data is the Greater Cincinnati Multiple Listing Service. By seeking out and understanding the trends in our market place we are better able to forecast the upcoming market conditions and counsel our clients on pricing strategies to get their home sold for the highest possible price. Any thoughts and insight into what may occur in the future are solely our opinions and forecasts.
The first thing we look at is unit sales for the last six months (September – February):
As mentioned in the February Real Estate Market Trends Report this most recent six months of data continues to reflect the decline in unit sales felt in the time immediately after the homebuyer tax credit expiration. The tax credit had the impact of drawing a lot of home sales into the first six months of last year and caused an extensive slow down afterward. The graph shows that the leveling off of home sales in West Chester and Liberty Township during this last six months time frame continued in February.
February 2011 homes sales showed a small uptick in sales when compared to the month of January 2011. February sales were however 9.38% lower than February of 2010. So the year over year comparison of sales does not look promising, particularly as we head into the next couple of months which will be compared to the “tax credit” months of last year.
The next few months represent very tough comparisons moving forward as we will be comparing sales levels this year against the sales levels of the months of last year when the tax credits for homebuying were in place. Generally we expect the year to year comparisons to be much lower than 2010 unless there is some unexpected development in the marketplace.
Average sale price for the last six months (September – February) is next:
In this graph you can see the movement of the average sale price for West Chester and Liberty Township, Ohio real estate sales from January 2010 through February of 2011. The trend line continues to show you a gradual decline for average home sale prices. Average sale price gets quite a bit of attention in the media with reports that quote “home prices fell” or “home prices rose” in this particular quarter or month or whatever. The average sale price is nothing more than what it’s called – an average price of all of the homes sold in a particular time frame.
Just to be clear here, homes are not worth more now than they were at the beginning of the year. Any increase or decrease in the average sale price is reflective of the activity of that time frame not the exact value of any one home. A perfect example of this is the month of January which according to the graph shows a huge decrease in the average sale price over the month of January 2010. A look inside the numbers explains… In January 2010, 8 of the total 42 closed sales that month were under $150,000 in sale price, in January 2011 there were 14 of a total 49 closed sales in that same price range. More sales in the lower price ranges will cause the average sale price to be lower. In addition, in January 2010 there were 6 closed sales over $400,000 compared to just 3 closed sales in January 2011 over $400,000. The luxury home market is facing a very difficult period in the next six months to a year with very high inventory levels and competition from the Homearama show homes.
So, was the average sale price lower because homes were worth less? No, there was just a very different mix of homes that sold. Falling home values do clearly effect the average sale price, but that is not the whole story.
List to sale price ratio:
The List to Sale Price ratio is calculated by dividing the final sale price into the list price to find the percentage of the list price that a given home sells for. The West Chester and Liberty Township Ohio List to Sale Price Ratio is 94.02% for February 2011. As you can see the monthly List to Sale Price Ratio has seen some big swings up and down in the last year and we took another big drop down in February. The swings up and down are an indicator of the lack of stability in the West Chester and Liberty Township real estate market right now. The highlighted center area of the graph shows what appears to be the middle ground right now for the market.
The trend here had been on an upswing, indicating that homeowners are generally pricing their homes at levels that reflect market value. One important fact to keep in mind here is that these figures are calculated based on homes that have sold. Homes that are priced too high when listed will not get 95-96% of their list price, in fact in this market, they won’t sell at all.
The one factor that remains true, through all of the market’s ups and downs is that homes that sell quickly, sell for a much higher percentage of their list price. In the most recent six months, homes that sold in the first thirty days that they were on the market sold for 96.75% of list price. As you can see, this is a much higher final sales price compared to the overall market average.
As was stated in last month’s LowryTeam.com: West Chester, Beckett Ridge and Liberty Township real estate market update, our market remains challenging, yet full of opportunity. Clearly the value of homes in the area has fallen over the past couple of years and frankly, in certain price ranges, the values are likely to fall farther. The primary threats to the 2011 real estate market and any potential recovery are continued high unemployment and the potential loss of the mortgage interest tax deduction. Interest rates have now risen off of their lows, but still remain at very attractive levels below 5.00% which provide a great environment for buying a new home.
Your comments and questions are always welcome!
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posted by Eric Lowry