In the past seven days our listings have averaged 2.3 showings each. That average is up nicely from this same time last year. In general, I think the public is becoming more aware that both the economy and the housing markets are slowly showing signs of improvement. Most sellers still want to know when prices are going to start appreciating again. That’s the million dollar question.
There is no question in my mind that a healthy market is on its way in the very near future and may have already arrived. Although healthy does not necessarily equal 2006 prices. This week we are publishing our monthly E-Newsletter with the real estate stats for February. Here’s a brief summary when comparing February 2012 with the prior month and again to the same period last year:
– Home sales are up 1.4% from last month and up 25% from last year.
– Average home price is down 2% from last month and down 9% from last year.
– Median home price is up 1% from last month and down 6% from last year.
– Average days on market is up 1% from last month and up 6% from last year.
– Pending home sales are up 18% from last month and up 28% from last year.
– Housing supply is up 7% from last month, but down 23% from last year.
– Mortgage rates are at record lows downs slightly from last month and down a full point from last year.
The most compelling data in the summary above is the huge jump in pending home sales. They are up 18% from last month which indicates that the spring selling season has begun. But they are also up 28% from last year which tells us that the spring sales are going to be far stronger than they were last year. Currently, there are 2146 pending single family sales in Mecklenburg County. In April of 2010, we saw that number very briefly because of the surge in demand related to the home buyer tax credits. (That was government stimulated and didn’t last.) The last time we saw pending sales like we have today was back in the summer of 2007 which was still a booming market in Charlotte. As these pending sales convert to closings, inventories will continue on a downward path which should eventually translate to rising prices.
Home prices are at a low point right now. But all the signals indicate improvement and we should start to see appreciation in the next year or so. The low prices and AMAZINGLY low intererest rates, coupled with a healthy outlook for the years to come makes now a tremendous time to buy. It is also a great time to trade up. As a trade up buyer, you will be selling for a historically low price, but should be able to make it up (and then some) on the higher priced purchase.