This past week our listings saw an average of 1.8 showings each. Our office is still seeing a steady flow of buyers out looking at homes, but fear is still driving the market and those buyers are proving to be very, very slow to act.
On Friday, we sent out our monthly E-Newsletter and published the Charlotte Market Stats from February. Here is a summary of the numbers when comparing February 2011 to both the previous month and to the same period from last year:
Home sales are down 2% from last month and down 8% from last year.
Average sales price is even from last month and down 8% from last year.
Median sales price is up 7% from last month and up 6% from last year.
Time on market is up slightly from last month but about even with last year.
Pending home sales are up 20% from last month but down about 5% from last year.
Supply is up 7% from last month but down about 3% from last year.
Mortgage rates are up slightly from last month but about the same as last year.
None of the data shows anything out of the ordinary. In any given year, March is typically the turning point for real estate sales in our area as it is the start of spring. The biggest spike in the data above is the pending home sales number which is up 20% from just last month. That’s because buyers are just now starting to get back into the water. The good news is that we should expect to see sales pick up steadily from here at least through the end of summer. The pending home sales number is down slightly, but that does not concern me because last year sales were being driven by the tax credits. It is actually encouraging that sales are only down slightly from last year considering that there are not tax incentives this year.
In November of last year, I posted a blog entry predicting the results of the real estate market this winter. At that time, the data was pointing to this February being a low point for home sales in the six years I’ve been tracking the data. That prediction turned out to be true. February home sales hit 452 in Mecklenburg County. The previous lows were 472 in January 2010 and 458 in February 2009. Considering that the economy seems to be getting back on track and barring no unexpected crises that put us back on a path to recession, I think it is fairly safe to say that we have truly hit bottom. With pending home sales up 20% from last month, there is no doubt that sales will increase from this point forward.
2011 is likely to look pretty similar to 2009 and 2010. But while those two years both contained much uncertainty, I think that 2011 will continue to build momentum and the real estate market will finish with strength and confidence into 2012. Sales are happening out there, but it still takes aggressive pricing and very willing sellers to make the deals work. Sellers should be cautioned not to be bullish about overpricing this spring season as that attitude could cause them to watch the busy spring season come and go without a sale.