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2011 Starts Out Like 2009

This past week our listings saw an average of 2.4 showings each.   My office has definitely experienced an increase in buyer activity although the numbers for Mecklenburg County aren’t reflecting any upticks quite yet.  

As we enter February, the starting numbers for 2011 look eerily close to the beginning of 2009.   The January home sales, average sales price, and pending home sales are almost identical in 2009 and 2011.   Home sales have hit record bottoms in both periods each with approximately 450 sales in Mecklenburg County.  

For those who remember the beginning of 2009, it was a very scary time.   Two months prior, the financial markets had collapsed and no one knew how bad it was going to get.   Real estate suffered tremendously in the early parts of 2009, but then first time buyer tax credit took effect during the second half of the year.   That tax credit continued into the first half of 2010.   Real estate sales hit abnormally high levels during those “tax credit” months.   The end result for 2009 and 2010 were pretty similar.   But while 2009 had a weak start and a strong finish, 2010 started strong and ended down.

So that brings us to January 2011.   As of right now, the data looks similar to January 2009.   This time consumer confidence is coming back due to an improving economy, but there is unlikely to be a tax credit to boost sales.   There is no shortage of people who ‘want’ to buy and/or sell.   The trouble is that many who would like to move are having a hard time making the numbers work.   (i.e. I need the equity out of my current house to buy the next one.)   As high foreclosure sales continue to keep prices down, this continues to be a problem.  

2011 is likely to show increased home sales based on increased demand, but we will probably not see any upward price movement until the foreclosure levels slow.   When that happens, the flood gates are likely to open and sellers who have been waiting for the right time will make their move.

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