May Charlotte Market Stats

Over the past two weeks our listings have averaged about 1 showing each per week.   Showing traffic is slow but steady and it seems that the buyers who are out looking are becoming more serious.   We are deep in the midst of what is historically the busy season and market activity is happening.  

Next week I’ll publish our weekly E-Newsletter and will publish the the statistics for Mecklenburg County real estate.   When comparing last month to the same period last year and again to the month before, here’s a quick summary:

– Home sales are down 15.8% from last year, but up 13.6% from the previous month.

– Average sales price is up 4.6% over last year and up 3.2% from the previous month.

– Median sales price is up 3.1% from last year and 4.8% from the previous month.

– Average time on market is up 6.9% from last year but down 2.7% from the previous month.

– Pending home sales are up 6.9% from a year ago but down 1.2% from the previous month.

– Housing supply is up 1.8% from last year, and about even with the previous month.

– Mortgage rates are at a low for 2011.   They are down to 4.64% which is lower than both last year and the previous month.

The longer I publish these stats, the more fun it becomes.   I’ve talked about the “data tail” that exists in the media.   The “tail” is a lag in time between the actual market data and how long it takes for the media to report on it.   For example, when a buyer and seller agree to a contract, there is typically a 30-45 day period before closing occurs.   Then it takes a month or two for the media to catch wind.   So the media is typically several months behind the market itself.

The reason I like pending home sales as an indicator is because it is a predictor of what will close next month.   (i.e. what is under contract now is likely to close next month.)   So when pending home sales rise, that typically means home sales will be up next month.

There has been a lot of bad news in the past two weeks regarding housing.   Well, no kidding!   Most of the bad news in housing reflects housing data from February and March.   At least in the Charlotte area, February is historically and seasonally the worst month of the year.   So it should be no surprise that the numbers are down.   I a try to report market data as soon as it becomes available and I am usually at least a month or so ahead of the media.  

The May market stats above should be encouraging.   Yes, home sales are down over last year BUT remember that last year most of the sales for the year were crammed into the first half because of the tax credits.   This year the demand is more normal and I expect it to be more even throughout the year.   That home sales are up significantly over last month is a really positive sign.   I predict that in a few months, the media will start to report on a recovery right before the fall when things typically start to slow down.

More importantly, BOTH average home price and median home price are up both from last year and from the previous month.   These two stats can be unpredictable when evaluated over short periods of time.   But the fact that both are up over both time periods is a pretty strong indicator that things are improving.   Granted, we are talking about May home sales which is usually one of the strongest months of the year.   But if demand continues more normally than it did this time last year, then we should see a stronger finish to the year.   If that happens, then 2012 should start off on a much better note than 2011 did.

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