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Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2011 – Year In Review

Lake Martin waterfront home sales finished 2011 in style, selling 207 waterfront residences on the entire lake.

This total gives Lake Martin the highest home sales since 235 were sold in 2006.  That’s not bad once you think about it.  We posted the highest sales in five years.  The statistics I quote are taken from Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors’ MLS*, and represent all real estate agents, all brokerages, over the entire lake.

The significance of this strong year of home sales cannot be understated for Lake Martin. I have said it many times here on this blog, but it bears repeating: the Lake Martin waterfront real estate market is at least three and a half years past its bottom.  Since July of 2008, everything has been uphill with regards to numbers of homes sold.

Lake Martin Waterfront Home Sales By Month

If you would like the source data for the chart above, here below are all waterfront home, condo, and town home sales on Lake Martin, broken down by month:

Below please find a line chart showing the same data for Lake Martin homes sold, I just removed 2005 through 2007 since I was getting too many lines on my chart and it was becoming hard for me to read.  I feel that 2008 is an appropriate year with which to start this chart since it was the bottom.

I think it is also notable that 2011 is the year that the market once again broke the 200 homes sold barrier.  This is the first time we have broken 200 since 2006. Back then, Lake Martin was still firmly in the sales boom, although numbers of waterfront homes sold were dropping, prices were still rising.  We didn’t quite realize that it was turning down.  Those trying to sell their Lake Martin homes should have gotten out then if they wanted to perfectly time the market.

This year, I think that Lake Martin is in just as pivotal a year. Sales increased by about 6%, but I think that prices still have not risen at all.  I think that may change in 2012.

Lake Martin Waterfront Home Pricing Trends

I only look at prices of homes sold once a year on Lake Martin. This is because we have such a small number of homes sold, relative to large metro markets. It doesn’t make sense to look at it monthly because two or three abnormal homes can skew it too much. You sometimes see a 100% increase or decrease from month to month. Too volatile. Similarly, I do not track Lake Martin home prices by calendar quarter because we are a seasonal, second home or vacation home market. Check out the monthly sales chart above and you can see that the bulk of home sales happen in warm months.

I attempt to solve our small market problem by breaking the homes sold into categories, in increments of $100,000 to start with, and then observing what percentage of the total sales that each $100k band represents.

Without further ado:

I think the above chart shows very clearly, and confirms my gut’s suspicion, that waterfront home, town home, and condo prices did not decrease on Lake Martin in 2011. They held steady with 2010 and 2009. While some sellers may interpret this as bad news (no sales increase) I think they should count their blessings.

At least there was no dip or decrease in prices. I would be shocked if there were. After all, Lake Martin is in a rising sales environment and has been for years.

So What?

So what does this chart mean?  I think it means that once again, as in 2009 and 2010, the largest percentage of homes sold on Lake Martin were in the $200,000 – $299,999 range.  Right at 25% of the waterfront home sold in 2009, 2010, and 2011 sold in that range.

If we had seen the entire bell curve shift forward towards the blue line of 2008, we could say (in my opinion) that we have evidence of price increases. But it didn’t.

I am tempted to say a price increase shift is starting in the way the $300k – $399k and $400k and $499k bands are bulging out a bit, straining in the chute, if you will.  2011 had a lot more sales in the 400s than did 2010, but the prior year beat 2011 in the 300s. I will call it a draw.

Why do I think there is a chance that we might see price increases in 2012?  Because the home sales results keep chipping away at inventory. At the end of December, there were about 359 waterfront homes and condos for sale, after 207 sales in 12 months or a ratio of 1.73.  Sure, December is the lowest listing period. But in December 2010 that number was 394 / 195 = 2.02.

Sellers - please hear me out.  It is NOT time to raise prices like it was 2006.  I am just saying that I can see the easing of downward pressure if sales continue.

Please stay tuned, I plan to write a lot more about 2011 Waterfront real estate sales on Lake Martin.

Related Posts:


Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010 – Lot Sales
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2008 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2007 – Year In Review

All Lake Martin Market Reports

(*)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.

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Lake Martin Home Sales For November 2011

The Lake Martin real estate market posted good waterfront sales for November, 2011.

The Lake Martin MLS* reports that 8 waterfront homes, condos, and town homes were sold in November.  This includes all real estate agents, all brokerages, on the entire lake, that are members of the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors.

It meant that November in 2011 was not as good as November 2010′s 10 homes sold, but was good enough to push the 2011 total above the 200 barrier to 203.  This is significant because Lake Martin real estate market has not seen waterfront home sales above 200 since 2006 scored 235 sales.

This year’s number of waterfront homes sold so far on Lake Martin has surprised me. After a strong summer and fall, I thought that we would end the year with 205 or so total. Hitting 203 with one more month to go is very encouraging.  My revised estimate for the entire year is 210 or so homes sold, which, as mentioned, will be the best since 2006.

Will December 2011 beat December 2010?  I doubt it.  Last year there were 12 waterfront homes sold through the MLS.  That’s strong – the best December since I have been tracking the numbers in 2005.  The average amount of Lake Martin homes sold in December has been about 6 if you look at 2005 – 2011.

If that holds true, Lake Martin will be on a two month losing streak to the prior year. Does this bode ill? Not necessarily, in my opinion.  Firstly, it’s hard to be anything but happy with the best year’s sales since 2006.  Secondly, we have learned that the winter months can be unreliable predictors.  To wit, 2007 had an awesome first quarter before totally tanking.

I won’t slice the numbers too much this month; I need to save my strength for my year end review later this month.  But in case you are interested, there was another waterfront lot sale on Lake Martin in November:

Also the sales versus the prior month chart is as expected, November posted a loss versus 2010 but overall the year was great:

Waterfront lot sales for Lake Martin property sold through the MLS were also strong in November.

Strong lot sales on Lake Martin this year could mean a good year for the construction industry. Granted, total waterfront lot sales are only about 60% of their peak in 2006, but hey, over 30 is a good year.

As I mentioned above, I will put a greater amount of emphasis on the year end numbers. I will wait a week or so more to make sure that all realtors and brokerages on Lake Martin have finalized their reporting to the MLS, so please stay tuned!

 

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2011 – October 2011
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010 – Lot Sales
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2008 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2007 – Year In Review

All Lake Martin Market Reports

(*)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.

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Lake Martin Waterfront Home Sales Beat Prior Year

It’s official, Lake Martin waterfront home sales in 2011 will be better than 2010.

Through October 31, 2011, 195 waterfront homes were sold on Lake Martin. If you check the Lake Martin real estate market for the entire year of 2010, you see that it took the full 12 months to reach the 195 level, and 194 were sold in 2009.

Since unofficial November 2011 results show that at least a few waterfront homes sold, one can confidently say that we beat the prior year of 2010.

My conservative guess is that the Lake Martin real estate market will finish 2011 with about 205 waterfront home sales.  That equals an approximate 5% jump from 2010, and about 49% up from the post bubble low in 2008.

Lake Martin Waterfront Home Sales By Month

The below chart shows Lake Martin waterfront property home sales by month.  It is from January 1, 2008 to October 31, 2011.  You can see that 2011, at a monthly level, beat 2010 at almost every month.  Please keep in mind that these numbers come from the Lake Martin MLS*, and reflect only waterfront home, condo, and town home sales by all members of the Lake Martin MLS, all brokerages.

Cumulative Lake Martin Waterfront Home Sales

If you take the monthly sales numbers for the Lake Martin real estate market and add them together, you get the cumulative sales results.  To me it is a bit easier to judge at a glance on this chart to tell how the year in total is trending versus prior years.

Please see the below chart.  Here again I start at the post bubble low year of 2008 and bring it through October 31, 2011.

Lake Martin Home Sales Versus Same Month Prior Year

Of all the numbers I crunch, of all my nerdly charts, the below one is the one I watch the most. It tracks how each month fares versus the same month in the prior year.  For example, in October 2011, 15 waterfront homes were sold on Lake Martin.  October 2010 saw 13 sales, all agents, all brokerages.  That gives us a +2 rating for the current month.

Any positive number here is good.  If I see several months in a row of negative numbers, I know that Lake Martin is in danger of stalling again.  If we had been watching closely in 2006, we could have seen this coming.

The second home market here at Lake Martin has been on a win streak since since mid 2008.  Has 2011 kept it rolling?  The answer is yes.

Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Sales

Has the momentum in home sales been mirrored in Lake Martin lots?

The answer for 2011 has been yes.

While October 2011 itself racked zero waterfront lots sold, the year in total has been a runaway success.  Through October 31, thirty three lots have sold in 2011.  Compare that to 27 for all of 2010, and you see a hefty gain. Consider that 2010 was the lot comeback year, and you can appreciate the gravity of 2011′s success.

With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that 2008 and 2009 represented a two year divot for Lake Martin lot sales.

I like lot sales because they are a general barometer of construction potential.  Let’s hope that our construction industry feels the trickle soon.

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2011 – Through May
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010 – Lot Sales
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2008 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2007 – Year In Review

All Lake Martin Market Reports

(*)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.

 

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Bluto – The Lake Martin Bear Market is Over!

"Zero point zero..."

Bluto Blutarsky might not want to admit it, but the bear market in Lake Martin waterfront real estate is over!  As I have said many times on my various posts about Lake Martin Market Reports, I think the tide turned in the middle of 2008.

People keep talking about it, though, and that is understandable. So I covered the topic in my latest article in Lake Magazine.  Here’s the link:

Nothing’s Over Until We Decide It Is

I am very grateful to publisher Kenneth Boone, aka Mr. Perfect, for allowing me to write these columns this year for his excellent Lake Martin Magazine.  I have really enjoyed the different medium of writing that his magazine offers, and also relished the crossover discussions I have had with those who read his magazine more than they read my blog.

So if you are a Lake Martin Voice blog reader who is unfamiliar with Lake Martin Magazine, please check it out online and in print. They have the best photography around, and (present company excluded) some of the the best writing as well.

Movie References

When I think of the phrase “it’s over” – I always think of Animal House.  However, as I was working on this article, I initially wanted to reference a different movie that also uses “it’s over” but in a much more dramatic way:

Rambo – First Blood.

It's over, Johnny.

There’s that scene where the hard core Green Beret Colonel Trautman comes to the hick town to reign in his master warrior John Rambo, played of course, by Sly.

It really is a much better scene to convey the shake-them-into-reality feel that I wanted.

He hollers at Rambo:

“It’s over Johnny!”

I even was going to let that be the headline. But I thought it might confuse the reader into thinking he was screaming at me. Plus, Vietnam is not really a good comparison to second home real estate on Lake Martin.  I didn’t want to stir up images of that.

Stallone fan or not, you have to admit that was a great movie, and an even better scene.

Even more, it launched an entire sub industry of survival knives.

I bought one at the Santuck Flea Market when I was 11 or 12.  I still have it.  I didn’t use it to fight any commies or even cauterize my own wounds but we do use it to dig up weeds in our yard.

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Lake Martin Home Sales Post Best May Since 2006

May, 2011, was a great month for waterfront home sales on Lake Martin. A total of 24 lakefront properties were sold on the entire lake – all brokerages, all agents.  This is the highest number of Lake Martin homes sold in the month of May since 33 were sold in 2006. It beats the 22 sold in May of 2010 and 2009, the 14 sold in 2008, and 23 sold in 2007.

When I pull the numbers from the Lake Martin MLS*, I find that 2011 is trending to be yet another strong year for us, perhaps to be the third year in a row that we will have bested the prior year in waterfront home sales.

Please note that in the above chart, and for the all charts going forward, I plan to quit showing 2005 – 2007 data, unless I am trying to make a specific point.

My reasons for this are:

1.)  Visually, it’s hard (for me at least) to look at so many years on one chart.  They just all mix together and lose context.

2.)  It is my sincere belief (backed up by the numbers) that 2008 was the bottom of the Lake Martin real estate market.  “The bubble” is old news. Instead of focusing on how off we are from 2005, I think the more pertinent topic to people interested in buying or selling on Lake Martin now is: how high up are we from the bottom? And, are we in danger of dipping back down again? To highlight these topics I need more space, and 2005 – 2007 must go.

I’m not throwing away the data or anything, I can always trot it back out of needed.

The below chart will show you the trend of waterfront homes sold on Lake Martin for 2011. We are trending about 10% above 2010, which suggests that we will end up selling about 50% more homes this year than in the bottom of 2008.

See The Momentum

I am a firm believer that in order to understand the direction any real estate market, anywhere, at any time, one must study the comparison of year to year monthly sales.  In other words, did the number of homes sold this month beat the same month last year? And how many months’ of victories have been tallied in, say, the last running 18 months? The answer to this will tell you that market’s momentum, and give you insight to the likely direction of pricing.

Yes, that’s right.  I’m saying pricing trends follow sales trends. If home sales go up, so will prices.  Dropping sales will drop prices.

What is the real estate sales trend for Lake Martin? Why am I so confident that we are at a low (relative) risk to a double dip?  See this chart:

The above is  a chart of the numbers of waterfront homes sold on Lake Martin since January 2008.  It shows the result of taking the current month homes sold and subtracting the same month in the prior year. Take January 2008 for example.  It sold 5 fewer homes than January 2007, thus the -5 position on the chart.  Ditto February 2008.  But in June 2009 – we see it sold 19 more homes than June 2008, so it registers a big blip up.  The key here is to focus on that zero line on the y (vertical) axis. Anything above that is “good” – aka an increasing sales momentum. The reverse is also true.

I have often cited this chart, but it is proof positive to me that Lake Martin is still on an upswing from the real estate bottom. Furthermore, you can see from the chart that in 2008 it swung from mostly negative numbers to mostly positive.

This is excellent news.  We are very fortunate here.

Waterfront Lot Sales On Lake Martin

Another bit of big news is the huge increase in waterfront lot sales for 2011. Looking at the entire Lake Martin market, 4 lots were sold in May, 2011.  This equaled May 2010.  If we consider the entire calendar year, we are trending above 2010, which was a boom year for lot sales.

Looking Ahead

Obviously, we have many more months to go so it doesn’t pay to get too ahead of myself.  But I do think that so far we can draw two conclusions:

1.)  Lake Martin waterfront home sales for 2011 will be strong again, matching or beating 2009 and 2010.  Personally I would not be surprised if it ends up at 10 – 15%  higher than last year. I think this also gives a little upward pressure to prices, if not this year, maybe 2012. Preliminary looks at June numbers look strong.

2.) Lake Martin lot sales in 2011 will again be strong. I think 2009 will be the bottom for lot sales, and it’s interesting to me that its bottom happened 12 months after the waterfront home sales bottomed.  If lot pricing follows home pricing behavior, then we will see that 2011 will be the year that Lake Martin waterfront lot prices stop dropping.

One Final Tidbit

I always puzzle a bit when the numbers don’t match my gut.  For the last 60 days or so something has been gnawing at me. We know that real estate prices are still low on Lake Martin.  Check.  We know that there are many waterfront homes for sale right now.  Check.  So:

Why am I having to hustle so hard on the last 3 or 4 deals I have done?

By hustle I don’t mean work in general. Not looking for pity. What I mean is that on these deals it seems like each one of them has had 2 or 3 other buyers at the sixteenth pole.

To drop the sports analogies, it seems like the “good deals” are being snapped up faster.

Am I correct? If so, that would mean that we have a high majority of homes that have been for sale for a really long time. The dogs (bad deals or junky situations) and the dreamers (sellers that are being ridiculous) are so numerous that it clouds judgement of the market as a whole.  But is that a fact?  And how can I go about proving or disproving my gut?

If anyone out there has a suggestion for metrics, please let me know.

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2011 – Through April
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010 – Lot Sales
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2008 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2007 – Year In Review

All Lake Martin Market Reports

(*)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.

 

 

 

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Lake Martin Spring 2011 Real Estate Sales Results

Lake Martin has seen strong waterfront home sales for the first four months of 2011.

Forgive me for the boring title to this post, but sometimes straightforward is better. It’s also tough to make up a headline that encompasses a four month period (January 1, 2011 – April 30, 2011).  The reason I wait so late to give the first Lake Martin MLS* real estate market report is that sales are typically low in January and February.  Plus, I around that time I am compiling the much more statistically significant 2010 year end review. This year is no exception.

I am pleased to see that the overall Lake Martin real estate market reflects my gut feeling of a very swift sales season for waterfront homes. Personally for me, and also for my fellow Lake Martin Voice Realty agent John Christenberry, 2011 has been a year of tremendous blessing thus far.  We have been able to help more buyers and sellers this year than ever before, and we thank you for that!

2011 Looks Like Another Strong Year

I read and watch a lot of so called real estate experts that predict a “double dip” – or another wave of foreclosures, or some such other phantom menace that will upend the market once again. Who knows? Maybe they are right. But one thing’s for sure – if it does happen again, we will see the fundamental market indicators start to weaken. By “fundamental market indicators” I simply mean the important statistics we all should be watching: homes sold versus last year and average prices.  We haven’t seen those indicators weaken since their low of approximately July of 2008.

Since we are in such a small real estate market here at Lake Martin can only look once a year at pricing trends in order to have any degree of certainty. And when we look at homes sold versus last year, we see a strong market.

In the first four months of 2011, 56 waterfront homes were sold through the Lake Martin MLS – this is almost 8% over the 2010 total of 52.

If you look at the waterfront home sales by month, you see that 2011 beat 2010 three out of four of those months:

Lake Martin 2011 home sale results

I realize with so many years’ worth of Lake Martin MLS sales on this graph, it’s starting to be a bit busy looking. I might drop anything pre 2008 in the future, just to make it more readable.

Here are the same monthly numbers in a chart, in case you are more of a numbers person than a graph person:

chart of lake martin alabama waterfront home sales 2011 since 2006

When you look at cumulative sales, you can see that 2011 is already way ahead of the trough year of 2008, and the comeback year of 2009:

lake martin alabama waterfront home sales

Here are the numbers, once again taken from the Lake Martin MLS and filtered for waterfront home sales only:

cumulative waterfront home sales on Lake Martin Alabama

Obviously, it is way too early in the year to say for sure that we will beat 2008 again. But at the pace that Lake Martin is on currently, and when I look on the MLS now and see how many sales are pending, I think it’s pretty safe to say that 2011 will be a good year for home sales, at least as many as 2010. And, when a market, whether we are talking about Lake Martin homes or yearling thoroughbreds, beats the previous year, that’s the definition of a rising market.

Number Of Waterfront Homes For Sale On Lake Martin

Over the last six months Lake Martin has seen the typical, seasonal rise and fall of homes on the MLS that are “Active” – aka For Sale. At April 30, 2011, that number stood just under 500.

lake martin alabama active listings

It’s a total guess, but my feeling is that we will peak out at the low to mid 500s in 2011. We don’t have any big condo projects that are about to dump a lot of units on the market at once, that I know of.

Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Sales

As of April 30, 2011 has been the best year for waterfront lot sales since 2006 at Lake Martin.

lake martin waterfront lot sales

A total of 15 waterfront lots have been sold on Lake Martin in 2011, through April 30.

lake martin waterfront lot sales

In short, it looks like 2011 will be another good year for Lake Martin real estate.  Barring a huge blip in the road, we look to avoid the low of 2008 and continue to look like a post real estate bubble market.

I am not sure what kind of evidence people need to finally move past the mentality that we are in a crisis market. If three straight years of strong sales don’t do it, what will?

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Waterfront Lots
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2008 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2007 – Year In Review

All Lake Martin Market Reports

(*)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.

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Lake Martin Homes for Fifty Cents on the Dollar?

A Lake Martin Foreclosure Update

If a cliche gets repeated enough, it becomes empty and loses all meaning.  Every male whitetail that we see on the side of the road – especially during hunting season – is an 8 point buck.  I’ve never heard different – “Dude,  I was driving home last night and I saw this huge 8 point.”  Never a 6.  Or “I’m not sure.”

Almost every police briefing I’ve ever seen opens with “At this time” and repeats it several times. “At this time we are searching,” or “At this time we are asking,”  or “At this time we have in custody.”  Of course it is at this time.

Screen shot 2011-05-09 at 12.30.39 PM“(So and so is) here for the right reasons” – you hear this a lot during recruiting season. Coaches are always so happy because every single player that committed did so “for the right reasons.”  All their coaching staff is there “for the right reasons.” Consider the opposite – how helpful would it be to announce that you plan to NOT recruit kids who want to be there for the WRONG reasons. You also hear it a lot on these silly reality shows like the Bachelor.  I am sure that you, dear intellectual reader, do not stoop to watch such drivel, so I will let you know that I have heard that every single bachelor since Season One is in earnest search for ladies who are “here for the right reasons.”

That’s a long intro to get to Lake Martin foreclosures.

I bring in these cliches at this time for the right reasons.

Twice this week I have heard a Lake Martin foreclosure cliche.  Buyers often ask:

Aren’t Lake Martin foreclosures selling for fifty cents on the dollar?”

(I could riff on the minutiae of this forever.  It’s never expressed as fifty percent of anything. Or half of anything.  It’s always fifty cents on the dollar.  And never 53 cents.  Never 47 cents.)

Screen shot 2011-05-10 at 2.43.03 PMSo can you buy a Lake Martin waterfront home for half price?  My answer is: “Yes and no.” It depends on what you are calculating. Fifty percent of current listing price? Fifty percent of the original listing price? Or fifty percent of what the builder hoped it would sell for in 2007?”

I hear,  “Well,  I know for a fact my cousin bought a home in Tallahassee last year,  and he told me it sold for fifty cents on the dollar.”

Pause the conversation – let me say here that I cannot blame a buyer one bit for wanting an extremely good deal. If my cousin told me this, or if I saw it on the Today show, I would get my hopes up too.

My job as a responsible Lake Martin real estate agent is to help buyers gather accurate information.  I don’t ask these questions to cross examine or doubt them, but to examine the information from which they are making assumptions.  Once I start asking questions, if they are working with a real world example of their cousin (instead of just the Today show), the more questions I ask, the more realistic it gets. “Well, he bought his foreclosure in Mediumburg for 150,000 and I know that’s different than Lake Martin.  Well, yes, the listing price from the bank was only $200,000.  But three years before that, the builder was asking $300,000.”

OK – I see.  In a certain manner, I can see the fifty cents on the dollar with that example.  Furthermore, I can point to many examples like that with Lake Martin foreclosures on waterfront homes.  But, if a waterfront home has already been foreclosed upon, it is pretty rare to sell for fifty percent of the current listing price.

I suppose I could, if I wanted, advertise similar deals going on in the Lake Martin real estate: Lake homes for 50% off! I would have to put in real tiny print “As compared to the wishful thinking listing price of 2007.”

(I can think of several bank stocks that I used to own that I wish still would sell for what they did in 2007.)

That’s why, whether I am helping buyers or sellers, I try to help them concentrate on today’s prices.  Today’s situation.  Forget yesterday.  It doesn’t matter if you are trying to buy a foreclosure, or competing to sell against one.  It’s all the same.Screen shot 2011-05-10 at 2.36.57 PM

Buyers want a good deal.  Same as always.  Sellers want the best deal for their home.  Same as always.

The Lake Martin real estate market is still seeing some new foreclosures on waterfront homes, condos, and lots.  There hasn’t been a flood, or a second wave, or anything like that.  Taken as a percent of market, we still don’t have as many foreclosures as compared to the rest of the nation.

The foreclosures, short sales, and conventional sellers that we do have on Lake Martin are enough to effect the market, though.  Supply and demand.

Would You Like Our List Of Lake Martin Foreclosures?

Click here and fill out the form.

Do you own a waterfront home, lot, or condo on Lake Martin, and are wondering what it might be worth? Contact us here or at 334 221 5862 and we can work you up a free, no hassle, no obligation Comparable Market Analysis.

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Lake Martin Foreclosures Update: April 2011

As a Realtor on Lake Martin, I get asked about foreclosures a lot.  Lake Martin’s waterfront real estate market seems to be a little different from other second home markets, and that is currently creating a unique spot in the market cycle for buyers and sellers.  Watch this video, and I’ll try to explain:

YouTube Preview Image

Basically, I think the Lake Martin waterfront real estate market bottomed in 2008.  Numbers of waterfront homes sold were up about 40% in 2009, and steady with that in 20102011 seems to be trending above 2010 for numbers of homes sold.  Prices stopped dropping in 2010.  You can say what you want about the economy, the President, the Congress, or the price of tea in China.  If this isn’t a clear sign of recovery for the Lake Martin market, I don’t know what is.  If the dreaded double-dip happens, you will hear about it here first, but it’s got to start dipping to be a double-dip.

I also get asked a lot about specific homes that are on other websites and are listed as foreclosures.  People ask me, “Hey John, why isn’t 123 Main Street on your list?  I see it on McHuge McForeclosuresite.com.”  The answer is, 99% of the time, by the time they get to McHuge, they have already been foreclosed, listed with an agent, and sold. McHuge is way, way slow.

Why?

Lake Martin is made up of 3 rural counties in east central Alabama.  There is virtually zero online newspaper coverage of legal notices or foreclosures. The huge aggregator websites pick up information that is old, inaccurate, and many times, not waterfront.

So, I make my own list of foreclosures, and am glad to share it.  If you’d like to request a current list of waterfront foreclosure properties, just fill out the form (I do not spam, nor do I give, sell, buy, or receive email accounts from anyone or any other company.  Read more about why you need to fill out a form).

Here’s a tip:  If you’ve requested it before, THERE’S NO NEED TO RE-REQUEST to get the latest list. Just bookmark or “favorite” the page on your internet browser, and you’ll get the most recently updated lists.

Send your request, check out the current list, and call me if you see anything interesting! (334 221 5862)

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Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Sales: 2010 Year In Review

2010 proved to be a pivotal one for waterfront home sales on Lake Martin.  But what about waterfront lot sales? Would they follow the pattern set by homes? That is, would our real estate market see an increase in number of lots sold, then finally a halt to the drops in prices?

Well, first we have to see an increase in the number of waterfront lots sold on Lake Martin in a year.  Prior years have seen that number slide. So what happened in 2010?

lake martin waterfront lot sales

2010 was a great year on Lake Martin for waterfront lot sales. Lot sellers saw that the number of lots sold jumped from a bottom of 18 in 2008 and 19 in 2009 to a healthy 27 in 2010.

Lake Martin waterfront lot sales history

Market Shift in Waterfront Lots

I think that this increase signals a market shift for Lake Martin waterfront lots. Tracking the number of lots sold should tell us that changes in prices are not far behind. We have studied this theory, and now seen it in practice with waterfront homes on Lake Martin.

While waterfront home sales bounced back in 2009, it took until 2010 until prices quit falling, as we saw in this market report.

Similarly, I think that 2011 lot sales will display that same trend. I think that if – that’s if - we see continued strong lot sales, prices will stop declining in 2011. Therefore my best guess is that it will be 2012 before we have any real chance of seeing lot prices of up. Obviously, 2011 sales will dictate that.

At the end of December, 2010, the Lake Martin MLS showed that 162 waterfront lots had the status of “Active” – aka are for sale. That means that at the sales rate of 27 per year of 2010, it would take 6 years to sell all of the lots. That’s 72 months of inventory. Tons. That’s my one reservation for predicting too quick a stop of slide on prices. The “months of inventory” number needs to be drastically reduced before the market will exert any upward pressure, in my opinion.

Waterfront Lots Sold: Price Distribution

It’s always interesting to see how the prices of lots sold on Lake Martin look.

prices of waterfront lots sold on Lake Martin Alabama in 2010

A Word On Price Per Waterfront Foot

In my opinion, the single BIGGEST screw up that Lake Martin buyers, flippers, appraisers, real estate agents, and bankers made in the “boom times” was estimating a lot’s worth at price per waterfront foot. Maybe it didn’t hurt the average lot buyer too bad but I can think of 3 or 4 specific incidents where people bought, say, 1,000 feet of Lake Martin shoreline and applied some vague price per square foot to it, and assumed they made money when they bought it.

Wrong.

Many of those parcels of land are in foreclosure now, but they are in the form of failed subdivisions. This method IS WAY TOO INACCURATE to be used. To wit:

In 2010 the least expensive waterfront lot was sold for $30,000 – a 100 foot lot north of the 280 River Bridge. Yes, $300 / waterfront foot.

One of 2010′s most expensive lots sold was one in the Russell Lands development of Trillium. The Lake Martin MLS stated it had about 427 waterfront feet and sold at $900,000 – or about $2,100 per waterfront foot.

$300 to $2,100 – that’s a pretty wide spread. Don’t be tempted to dumb things down and use averages. Avoid that method all together and use the comparable sales method like we do for homes.

Do you own a waterfront lot on Lake Martin and are wondering how this news affects you? Or maybe you are looking for one.  We can help.  Please contact us here or at 334 221 5862.

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2010
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Waterfront Lots
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2008 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2007 – Year In Review

All Lake Martin Market Reports

(*)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.

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2010 Lake Martin Home Prices Suggest Bottom Has Passed

Big News For Lake Martin Real Estate

Lake Martin waterfront home prices did not drop 2010, suggesting “the bottom”  arrived sometime in 2009 or 2010.

About this time every year, I take an in depth look at waterfront home sales on Lake Martin as reported by the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors’ MLS(*) (of which I am a member). Prior years’ market reports have shown us that, in terms of number of waterfront homes sold, 2008 was the low point.  2009 showed an over 40% increase in homes sold at 194, and 2010 topped that amount at 195.

The final piece of the recovery was to figure out when prices would finally quit dropping. I think the below chart gives evidence that we are there.

lake martin waterfront home sold 2010

Once again, we see that the bell curve of prices remains the same in 2010 – essentially even with 2009 and 2005.

“Big deal” – you might say.  Stagnant home prices? What’s to brag about? Plenty…..

total lake martin waterfront homes sold

The First Step In Getting Out Of A Hole: Stop Digging

Anyone who follows Lake Martin real estate (or any market for that matter) and is who is watching for a change in the market focuses on two trends: number of waterfront homes sold and price of waterfront homes sold.

1. Number of Homes Sold Bottomed in 2008 – check this one off of the list. 2009 showed us by tallying over 40% more sales that 2008 was the bottom. Similarly strong sales in 2010 showed us that 2009 was no fluke.

2. Price of homes sold bottomed in 2009 – 2010 – I think we can check this one off, too.  True, 2011 could see a drop in prices, but I doubt it.  Why? Because of number #1 above.  The number of homes sold is the leading indicator of average prices. We have been over and over Nicolai Kolding’s research that proves this.  We have a lot of momentum with the number of waterfront home sales – too much momentum, in my opinion, to turn prices back down.  At any rate, even if prices do drop in a double dip maneuver, we will have plenty of warning from the number of homes sold.

Why This Is Big News

To Buyers:

Quit waiting for the bottom. It is here.  Make your move now before prices start going up again.

I can’t tell you how many times over the past 2 years I have helped someone find something they like, only to have their lake home plans be put on hold by the phrase “I think it’s going to get worse. I will wait.” Understandably, some buyers have hesitated based on fears that the Lake Martin real estate market will suffer more price cuts, and to these buyers, it was worth the wait.

No more.  The day I have been predicting since 2009 is here. It’s hard to refute the numbers.

Are some Lake Martin waterfront homes, lots, or condos still overpriced? Absolutely. But that will be the case in any market, at any time. But the key here is that it should remove the fear that another market wide adjustment is looming.  It also reassures us that as long as we keep focused on year to year monthly sales, we will have plenty of warning to market shifts.

To Sellers: The End Is Near

You can’t raise prices just yet, but it should be reassuring that at least the slide is over.

lake martin real estate waterfront homes sold by month

See also:

cumulative lake martin waterfront homes sold 2005 - 2010

This is the first post in a series that will cover the 2010 Lake Martin Real estate market reports and statistics. I will do my best to present the data clearly.

Please stay tuned to my real estate blog to keep up with my future posts on the 2010 year end review.

As always – I welcome your comments below or on my Facebook page, or my Twitter feed, or my Youtube channel. While numbers are hard to dispute, everyone has their own opinion about what they mean. I know that I constantly learn a lot from everyone out there when we talk privately.

Please help me and the rest of the readers out, and comment publicly!

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales – November 2010
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Waterfront Lots
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2008 – Year In Review
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2007 – Year In Review

All Lake Martin Market Reports

(*)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.

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