The Perspective of Time

After twenty years of working in the real estate business, I still haven’t seen it all. The current market is like no other that has come before, at least in my time. Home prices are at an all time high, but the number of monthly home sales remains low in comparison to the last few years. Rising interest rates have put homeowners in a precarious position. They can sell now and lock in huge gains, but the trade off is that they potentially let go of a very low interest mortgage procured in the last few years. In spite of record prices and increased interest rates, buyers are still finding themselves competing with multiple offers on the limited listing inventory that’s currently available.

Now seems like a good time to use the power of perspective to help shed some light on things. The number of single family home sales in Mecklenburg County in April were down 24% from last year. The last time we saw fewer sales in the month of April was eleven years ago in 2012. Around that time were just beginning to come out of the Great Recession, but most of us didn’t know it. In that month all those years ago, here were a few of the notable stats compared to April of this year:

  • Average home price was $242,087 vs $599,293
  • Median home price was $170,000 vs $455,000
  • Average time on market was 105 days vs 35
  • Mortgage rates were at 3.5% vs 6.35%
  • Average payment was $915 vs $2983

I don’t know about you, but if I could go back to April 2012 and buy a bunch more real estate at those prices and rates, I most certainly would. Well, duh! But I also clearly remember that time period in the market. People were holding off on buying because they were afraid. They missed out. Comparing the average price back then to the average price now, the average return on home price alone works out to a roughly 9% annualized for eleven years!

If we go back even further to before the Great Recession, real estate has still performed well. I started tracking the Mecklenburg County market stats in late 2004. In April 2005, the average sales price of $218,775 yielding an annualized rate of return at 5.8% since then. This should help anyone with concerns that the recent double digit percentage increases are not sustainable. Looked at over longer periods of time, the recent gains can still be considered a correction from the losses of the Great Recession.

I wonder if we’ll look back ten years from now at the market stats for April 2023, and wish we could go back in time to buy real estate. Based on my experience over the past twenty years, I think we will.

This week we’ll send out our monthly E-Newsletter reporting the market stats for single family home sales in Mecklenburg County. Here’s a brief summary comparing April to the previous month, and the same month last year:

  • Homes sales are down 9% from last month and 24% from last year.
  • Average sales price is up 6% from last month and 4% from last year.
  • Median sales price is up 5% from last month and 1% from last year.
  • Average price per square foot is up 3.5% from last month and 2% from last year.
  • Sale to list price ratio is up to 100% from 99% last month, but down from 105% last year.
  • Average time on market is down 24% from last month, but up 150% from last year.
  • Pending homes sales are up 2% from last month, but down 24% from last year.
  • Supply is down 2% from last month, but up 82% from last year.
  • Mortgage rates at 6.35% are about even with last month, but up from 4.98% last year.
  • Average payment is up 7% from last month and 21% from last year.

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

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