September 08 Housing Inventory Trends

Over the past seven days our listings have shown an average of 1.9 times each.   It was an average week relative to the current market.   Today is Election Day and it is my hope that the closure this day brings will help eliminate at least one uncertainty that is causing buyer fear.

Over the weekend I received my monthly copy of the Charlotte Regional Realtors‘ publication, Realtor Reflections.   In the Sales Trends section, market statistics are reported for the entire Carolina Multiple Listing Service in September 2008.   To summarize some of the key stats:

– The total number of closings decreased 27% from one year ago.

– The average sales price was 9% lower than one year ago.

Additionally, by breaking down the total number of September 2008 closings and the total number of active listings by price range, the following was reported:

Price  Range                 Closed           Active           Supply  (Mo)*           % of Market*
< $120K                             675               5666               8.4                                               30.1%
$120K – 150K             346                 3135               9.1                                             15.5%
$150K – 190K             355                  3701             10.4                                             15.9%
$190K – 250K              300               4266               14.2                                              13.4%
$250K – 350K             276                4614               16.7                                             12.3%
$350K – 500K             152                3682               24.2                                               6.8%
$500K – 1M                   115                 3176             27.6                                               5.1%
$1M +                                     20                  1138               56.9                                               0.9%

Note that the first three columns above are direct from the Realtor publication.   I calculated the last two columns (Supply & % of Market) using the first three.   Supply represents the number of months it would take for the current inventory of housing to sell out based on the rate at which homes sold in September.   The % of Market shows   the percentage of the total number of home sales that each price point represented in September.

When comparing these figures to data in my previous blogs, we find that the market for homes under $200,000 has remained fairly consistent.   Even within that price range, it is still a buyer’s market but only mildly so.   However, from approximately $200,000 and up the housing supply has increased since my last similar report for August 2008.   Note that the market under $200,000 represents roughly 60% of the total sales in our region.   While homes from $500,000 and up represent only 6% of total sales.

There are a few points we can take away from this data.   First,  buyers looking for good deals would be most likely to find them in the higher price points.   Sellers in that same price category need to be very aggressive if they are to compete with all the other  listings out there.   Second, now is an especially good time to trade up  for  homeowners that own a home worth around  $200,000 or less.   Those sellers could expect a fairly decent sale price, and a steal on their new home in a higher price range.

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