Every year I do a market report for the Lake Martin area waterfront real estate sales. It’s a comprehensive look at all of the property that is sold through the Lake Martin, Alabama, Area MLS*. This year, the Lake Martin year end review of home sales looks quite bright. I will cover the basics below, and then in future posts I am going to go really in depth with the waterfront lot sales at Lake Martin. I took some time to really dig down into the details of Lake Martin’s lot market to see if we can glean some trends.
The last time we looked at the waterfront real estate sales on Lake Martin was back in August. We studied the market results through July 31, 2013, and found that sales were going really well. Now that 2013 is over, I thought we would take a look at the year in review.
The Lake Martin Multiple Listings Service, as always, is the database from which I draw all of these numbers. I filter out all of the non-waterfront sales, just to get to the nitty gritty, which is why these results might differ from the overall market report that you might see elsewhere, such as in the ACRE reports at AL.com, the Alex City Outlook, and Lake Magazine.
So, back to waterfront properties – how was the market at Lake Martin? How were waterfront home sales in 2013?
Blistering, in a word. If you recall from July’s sales totals, the year was going well for waterfront home sales, and especially well for lot sales. That trend continued through the year’s end.
In the twelve calendar months of 2013, an eye popping 263 waterfront homes were sold in the Lake Martin MLS. Once again, the current year beat the prior year in terms of number of homes sold. Many of us in the real estate industry feel that beating the prior year is per se evidence of an improving market. Lake Martin is so very blessed to have done that every year since 2008. This year beat 2012 by a whopping twenty-four homes, as 2012’s waterfront sales total was 239 homes. Before you are tempted to think, “Big deal, John, it’s only two more a month,” I ask you to consider the percentages. Twenty-four more homes represents an increase of about ten percent over 2012. 2012’s sales total of 239 homes was itself a 15% increase over 2011. When you step back and look at these increases, it even surprises me that in the last two years our market has increased homes sold by twenty-five percent. What business would scoff at that?
How does this year measure up to posterity? Great question. A close look at the Lake Martin 2013 market’s total of 263 homes sold is the best on record other than the 281 homes sold in 2005. That means that we were only about seven percent from the best sales year ever in terms of numbers of waterfront homes sold. If the sales trend of the past two years continues, we project to sell about 294 homes on the lake in 2014.
If waterfront home sales were blistering in 2013, then I guess waterfront lot sales were surface-of-the-sun hot.
This past year saw 71 waterfront lots sold by agents at Lake Martin. Consider that 71 is almost double of what was sold in 2012 – and 2012 was a great year. Plus, it dwarfs years like 2009 when only 19 were sold in twelve months. It is truly remarkable to see the leap our market took for waterfront lots. Another business that lot sales has really affected is construction. Anecdotal evidence shows me that general contractors and subcontractors are busy again. I ate lunch on a random chilly Tuesday at Oskar’s – and the place was packed with people in the building trade.
I have no idea how many of the lot sales in 2013 were made by buyers that intend to build spec homes to sell. I guess we will see when July or so rolls around. I would not be surprised if twenty or so fit that category. If so, any increase in supply of homes for sale could affect lake home prices, which is the next thing I would like to address.
With this uptick in Lake Martin waterfront home and lot sales in 2013, a natural question is, “has this boom affected prices?” My answer is – I don’t think so.
That might not be good news for Lake Martin property owners that are hoping for a price increase. But, I really can’t call an increase until I see it. As I am a full time agent working here, I do have my gut feelings on these things. 2013, to my gut, did not feel like a year of rising prices. Then again, it’s been at least five years since a price increase so I may have forgotten what it feels like!
The above chart shows my attempt to graphically represent pricing trends here on Lake Martin, with all of the waterfront home sales recorded in our MLS. A shift forward of the entire bell curve would show me that prices have increased. I don’t see that yet. While 2013 looks like it is beginning to round out a little bit, I can’t really say it is a true price increase. Not yet, at least.
Fear not, when I see an increase or decrease, I will call it. But for 2013 my gut and the numbers line up. There was no change in pricing. If, however, my gut tells me something different than the chart, I guess I will have to go back to the drawing board to make sure this is an accurate way to consider price trends. For now, it feels and looks right. One way that I have thought of trying to get more accurate is to break the above chart down into more increments. For instance, maybe up to $1 million I should break it into $50,000 increments instead of $100,000. At any rate, if any reader has a suggestion, please contact me and let me know.
Please stay tuned! Over the next couple of weeks I will continue to dig more deeply into the numbers of Lake Martin real estate sales for 2013.
I can’t resist ending without a call to action. Are you considering buying a waterfront home, lot, or condo on Lake Martin? Do you need help breaking down the lake’s market trends to see how it affects you? Please contact us and we can help. We are full time real estate agents here at Lake Martin.
Do you own property at Lake Martin? We can help you, too. Contact us and put us to work helping you get the right price, and create the correct custom marketing plan.
Copyright notice – the above, and every other post on this blog, is the property of John Coley, Broker, Lake Martin Voice Realty. Appraisers may use my information in their appraisals without charge or asking, but please give me credit by citing me, my company name and title, and website address of http://lakemartinvoice.com. If anyone else would like to use this information, please contact me here and ask. I probably will let you do it, just please ask!
(*)Disclaimers: All of the above info was taken from the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. Accuracy is not guaranteed but deemed reliable. The above does not include sales by FSBOs or developers that sell privately and not through the MLS. But, I do think that the above represents a very large majority of all waterfront sales on Lake Martin, Alabama.