Third Quarter 2011 


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 All Real Estate is Local!


The good news is that real estate is a local business. Our markets do not necessarily follow, react or respond to national trends. While our clients' confidence, job security and investment strategies are influenced by national and international news, our local real estate activity appears to be holding fairly stable. Unlike 2008, today's marketplace does not reflect the volatility of the national and international political and economic unrest.


We expect mortgage rates to remain in the 4% to 5% range or even lower for certain types of loans. Yes, the banks are lending money, and many buyers are taking advantage of FHA loans and modest down payments.

What has changed is the bank guidelines are more stringent; not always a bad thing! 


This fall's average and median sale prices reflect changes within plus or minus 8% when compared to the same quarter for 2009 and 2010 (please see chart below). In general, our real estate market activity remains well below that of 2006 and 2007; Sellers with equity and realistic expectations should not be afraid to put their homes on the market,our local inventory is currently extremely low, and the result is many buyers compete for the more desirable homes. Buyers who plan on staying put for a minimum of 5 years are taking advantage of the great mortgage rates.


 Chart 1


Time on the market is clearly not a seller's friend. Statistics from the MLS confirm that homes on the market for more than 30 days sold on average for 89% of their original listing price; that is $110,000 under the original asking price on a million dollar home. Conversely, homes that sold in the first 30 days on the market sold on average for 98% of their original listing price. Pricing decisions in this market are paramount to achieving a timely sale and maximizing sellers' proceeds.


Buyers in today's marketplace are well educated and conversant about recent sales, price reductions, and new listing inventory. We find buyers to be generally patient, focused, seeking value, and not willing to make offers on overpriced listings. This makes the pool of qualified buyers keenly focused on the best-priced properties. Other nice homes will sit until the price is reduced to meet buyers expectations.


I'm always happy to help potential sellers and buyers figure out what makes sense for them and to be a resource for your general real estate needs!  


Chart 2