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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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November Home Sales On Lake Martin Mirror Last Year

Ten waterfront homes were sold in the Lake Martin MLS in the month of November, 2010. This equals the ten sold in November, 2009, and brings 2010’s total to 181, slightly behind 2009’s November total of 186.

2010-11 monthly sales reports

I don’t have too much analysis to add here except to say that November 2010 continues the trend of pretty much equaling last year. Normally that wouldn’t be too exciting news, but since 2009 was such a comeback year from the low of 2008, we will take it. Yesterday I read a big headline in my beloved Wall Street Journal that analysts fear the double dip in national real estate markets. A 2010 that is stable as compared to last year I think gives great evidence that Lake Martin will be able to avoid a double dip. Most markets that fear another slide have not really recovered from the first one.

2010-11 lake martin year sales reports

In short, we have much to be thankful for at Lake Martin. When you look at cumulative totals, we see that through November, 2010 scored 181 sales as compared to 2009’s total of 186.

Next is the all important chart where I look to compare each month’s sales to the same month last year. In my opinion this is the key factor to judge the momentum or direction of Lake Martin’s real estate market health. Since November 2010 equaled 2009 at ten, we are back to the zero axis.

I use Google Spreadsheets to make these, and Google updated their chart software. My charts are all wacky looking now. Instead of spending hours to figure this out for this month, I am going with it this month and hope to fix it for the year end review.

Gearing Up For The Year End Review

As a recovering accountant, I still twitch a little bit when I hear the term “year end.”

When I rolled up year end numbers for a privately held company, it wasn’t so bad. But publicly traded companies are a different animal altogether. All of us nerds in the accounting departments started to wince about December 15, knowing the pain that was ahead until March 1 or so. The heavy hitters from sales and production would actually stop by our cubicles and ask how it was going. It was nice to be noticed, I guess, but mostly it made us more nervous. We worked round the clock for weeks. It was kind of like studying for finals at college, except we wore cheap ties, had constant coffee breath, and it wasn’t fun. OK, maybe it was nothing like college.

However, year end in the Lake Martin real estate market means I get to indulge myself by rolling around in numbers that are a lot more fun. I get to slice and dice and revel in the nerdliness of the numbers. Because I do many more attempts at analysis, this post usually comes out in early February, so please be patient.

What To Expect

Nothing really shocking will be revealed. Total waterfront home sales on Lake Martin will pretty much track with 2009. Waterfront lot sales were up, though, and we will take a look at that.

The most fun part of it to me will be finally being able to calculate pricing trends. Lake Martin is a small market with a relatively small number of sales. Therefore our sample size is small, and prohibits (in my opinion) cogent average price analysis on a monthly basis.

Stay tuned!

Related Posts (I recently edited these links to make sure they work):

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales – October 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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Average October For Lake Martin Home Sales

Lake Martin Waterfront home sales posted a pretty typical October for 2010.

Following a dismal September, which posted the lowest amount of September sales in the last 5 years, October returned to just “average.” The 13 waterfront homes sold in the Lake Martin MLS* represent a pretty typical October.

Year to Date Totals

This sales month pushes the year to date total of Lake Martin waterfront homes sold to 171. To compare this to prior years at the end of October, we see that it is not as good as last year, but still way ahead of 2007 and the low point in 2008. Not too shabby.

I think this lukewarm month also sets Lake Martin up to lose to last year in total waterfront homes sold. I can’t really expect 2010 to have an above average November or December, so I think we will come in slightly behind 2009.  It’s not exciting, but there are plenty of markets that are still sliding downward and would change places with us in a second.

I haven’t looked at the dollar value yet, nor the average sales price. I expect that prices held steady.

Market Diagnosis

I really thought that this October was going to be a big winner.  I alluded to that a bit in my post where I wrote about September Lake Martin home sales.  When I was writing September’s, the date was actually November 2.  So I looked on the MLS at the same time to get a preliminary feel for October.  When I did that, I saw 27 waterfront homes that were closed in October.

Wow! I thought.  That is awesome, one of the best months, regardless of market and season, in the last several years.

But –> I WAS WRONG!

When I ran the numbers again for October (yesterday), I came out with 13.  I was baffled.  I even posted it on my twitter stream .  How could two market reports be so different, only 25 or so days apart?  I even contacted my MLS provider, FBS Data Systems, to help me audit the difference, to no avail.  The only thing I can think I did wrong was not to filter the results by Waterfront only.

I am sure now, though, that we only had 13 homes sold through the Lake Martin MLS in October 2010.

In the bigger picture, I think October’s not flashy but average results mean that we are back to a stable market.

I am not ready to officially call it yet. I really want to see another two months’ sales, and I want to use an entire 12 months to calculate the bell curve of pricing. But if we get there, I want to make sure that everyone is ready to admit that the gloom is done.

It’s hard to step out on a limb and call a market shift. Real estate markets are like any other, there’s a lot of resistance to leaving the company line. To wit, there were plenty of people that disagreed with me with I called the end of the seller’s market. There were plenty of so called economists at NAR that predicted flowers and daisies forever, until the mortgage meltdown forced them to admit that the emperor has no clothes.

Well, I am saying that there is a distinct possibility that we have proof of another market shift. We won’t flop instantly back to days of 30% annual gains. Lake Martin will be one of the few markets in the nation, a second home market at that, that will be able to confidently say that the worst is over. Not only have we seen the bottom, we have returned to stability.

Related Posts (I recently edited these links to make sure they work):

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales – September 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 Sales Slump In September

Lake Martin waterfront home sales stalled in September 2010. Only 14 homes were sold through the Lake Martin MLS*, as compared to 24 in 2009 and 20 in 2008.

If you add this month to the previous year to date total, what does that tell us about the Lake Martin real estate market as a whole? We see that number of homes sold so far through September 30, 2010, is 158. This puts 2010 slightly behind the Sept. 30, 2009, number of 162.

The good news is that it puts 2010 far ahead of the entire 12 months’ worth of sales in 2008 and 2007, thus ensuring us against the fabled, never-seen, yet dreaded, double dip.

Lake Martin Market Momentum

If we compare this month’s waterfront home sales to the same month last year, we see that 2010 has been on a losing streak. We have had 5 straight months of either losing to (4) or tying with (1) 2009.

Should we be worried? Is this a legitimate trend now? I mean, come on. I used this graphic to prove that the Lake Martin real estate market had bounced back in 2009. Shouldn’t it now show us that we are headed back downhill after 5 “lousy” months? Let’s be honest!!

I don’t think so.

The main reason is that I am writing this Market Report for September so late (November 2). I have the luxury of looking at waterfront property sales results for October 2010, which tells me that October is going to be a really big month. Probably the best October in 4 or so years. If preliminary indications hold, it will be so much better than October 2009 it will just about erase the last 5 months’ lukewarmness. In fact, it may put 2010 in position to beat 2009 when it’s all said and done on December 31.

I hate to call a downward trend when we are still beating prior year.

I guess many September scheduled closings have been pushed to October due to lending red tape and inspections. I know that personally I have been blessed to have signed more business (closings and listings) this fall than ever before.

Inventory of Lake Martin Homes for sale

The number of waterfront homes for sale in the Lake Martin MLS decreased again this month. No surprises here, it’s a seasonal thing. I am considering publishing this chart only once a quarter, or near peak or trough times.  I don’t think it’s necessary to mention each month.

Why Do You Report Sales So Late?

As I have said in countless disclaimers, I take all of my sales numbers from the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors’ MLS. Each sale must be recorded and reported by the listing agent. That means if you have a closing on September 30, the sale will show as a status of “Pending” until the agent goes into the MLS and changes it to “Closed.”

Many times it takes a couple of business days, if not weeks, to do this. That’s why I try to wait at least until the 15th of the next month before I do a Lake Martin Real Estate Market Report. Granted, for this month (September 2010) I waited a lot longer than that. Sorry.

Be on the lookout for the October 2010 report sometime the week of November 15 – 19, 2010.

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales – June and July 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 Real Estate Stalls In August

Lake Martin waterfront home sales stalled slightly in August of 2010, selling only 27 waterfront properties as compared to 31 sold in August of 2009.  However, the cumulative total for Lake Martin in 2010 is still better than 2009.

Lake Martin MLS* Market reports for 2010 have seen spotty performance versus the prior year. This year, the Lake Martin real estate market has been like some of the SEC offenses I have watched so far this season. When it was good, it was very good, and when it wasn’t, it was tepid. Not horrible, just lukewarm.

That being said, when you look at total sales for the calendar year, 2010 is still ahead of 2009. Therefore it’s hard to complain too much when we are beating last year. Most real estate markets around the country, especially second home / vacation markets, would love to be able to say that.

OK, so we are still ahead on the scoreboard. By the end of August 31, 2010 has sold 144 waterfront homes on Lake Martin versus 138 at this point in 2009. But what is the momentum?

In my opinion, the finest measure of the momentum, if not health of any real estate market is comparing the current month’s number of homes sold versus the same month last year. If you need convincing, read this post by Nicolai Kolding.

So how does Lake Martin’s waterfront real estate momentum shape up? See the below chart. Any area above the zero line means that month beat the prior year, which is a good thing.

I am not really sure how to interpret the above graph. I think it clearly shows that 2009’s hot streak has been cooled the last few months. I hesitate to call it a double dip as Lake Martin is still besting its competition of last year.

In short, we need more information. We need the sales results from last few months of 2010 to show us what is really going on with the number of homes sold, as well as any movement in average prices.

Number of Waterfront Home for Sale on Lake Martin

The above graph shows us that the inventory of waterfront homes for sale on Lake Martin has headed back down. This is the typical seasonal shift. Nothing really surprising about this, except that I am sure sellers wish it peaked a lot lower. Expect this number to decrease until January or so.

Looking Ahead

The Lake Martin MLS, at this writing, has scored about 15 waterfront homes sold so far in September, with about 22 under contract to close. We won’t know the real numbers until the middle of October or so, but my guess is that Lake Martin will have a good September. That’s another reason why I hesitate to call a shift in momentum. Again, we need more time, more information.

Waterfront Lots Sales Take Off

Another bright spot for the Lake Martin market is the surprising news that waterfront lot sales were way up in August.

I know I am going to sound like a typically self contradictory “economist” on the dole at NAR when I say this, but I think this is good news for everyone. I (jokingly) define everyone as:

1. Bankers – maybe they have finally found rock bottom prices at which their foreclosed lots will sell.
2. Buyers – has the news **finally** sunk in? They really have started to act on their observations that these lot prices are incredibly low, instead of just talking about it?
3. Builders – sure, not everyone will start building tomorrow. But at least it hints at a future where there will be some normal activity again.
4. Sellers – how can the same news be good for Lake Martin owners and buyers? When the news points to overall market health. If people are buying lots, that means they are not finding homes that they want, or at least have confidence in the market overall. It’s kind of like fishing – when you’re catching small ones, at least something is happening. When nothing is biting, you begin to doubt if there is anything down there at all.

Lot sales breed confidence.

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales – June and July 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 Waterfront Home Sales: June & July 2010

Real estate sales on Lake Martin looked strong on midsummer of 2010.

In June 2010, 17 waterfront homes were sold through the Lake Martin MLS. July 2010 saw a huge increase, 28 homes were sold. These statistics were taken from the Lake Martin MLS* – so it is all agents, all agencies, everyone.  While these market reports sound impressive, how do they stack up against history?


As you can see from the monthly results chart above, 2010 is posting consistently strong results when compared to years post bubble burst. Interestingly though, if you compare it only to the prior year, 2010 lost badly to 2009 in June (17 sales versus 26) and tied it in July at 28.

What about cumulative results? How does it look if we add each month’s sales to get a rolling calender year total? That gives us an idea of the sales trends and a historical perspective.

Lake Martin waterfront home sales at July 31, 2010 ,are stronger than by the end of July in 2009. This is certainly good news, as 2009 was (what I have dubbed) as the comeback year for Lake Martin real estate. Looking only at the above chart, we could rightly assume that 2010 will be even better than last year.

But what about momentum?

How do we measure how fast lake homes are selling? Sure, 2010 is ahead of 2009 so far. But does it have enough gas to stay ahead?

Loyal readers of Lake Martin Voice know that I put a lot of stock in comparing how this month’s number of lake homes sold stacks up versus the same month of last year. I truly believe that this is the absolute best measure of the state of any real estate market. It cuts through all the hocus pocus. It doesn’t concern itself with ivory tower parleying over macro economic data, nor nit picking through minutia of this home versus that. It’s all about the scoreboard. It’s like the feeling when the clock hits 0:00 in the Iron Bowl. There’s nothing more to say, no more trash talk or what ifs. The scoreboard does the talking.

How does the scoreboard look for 2010?


If you are a fan of sales increasing, you want to see action above the zero line. That means that the current month is beating the same month in the prior year. A quick glance shows anyone that Lake Martin real estate sales in 2009 were beating the pants off of 2008. The “good” news is that 2010 is still beating 2009, just check the cumulative sales. However, it is not at the same furious pace.

Is this evidence of the dreaded macro economic “double dip” of bad results? I don’t think so. Let’s wait until a year starts losing consistently before we make that call. For right now, I think the jury is still out for 2010. These are halftime results, let’s wait until November to make that call.

Inventory


Another positive trend for Lake Martin sellers is the fact that the waterfront homes for sale seems to be decreasing. One look at the above chart can show you that in the Lake Martin real estate market, inventory usually peaks at mid summer, and then slides down toward January. If we have hit our apex for 2010 already, it would seem to indicate a trend towards a smaller number of properties for sale through the MLS.

This is classic supply and demand, folks. We still have strong sales, but if waterfront homes on Lake Martin start to be more scarce, prices will finally cease their slide.

We need more data to be sure, but I think this helps the odds of my earlier prediction of stabilized prices for 2010.

Related Posts:

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 sales on Lake Martin.

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Lake Martin Lot Buyers – An Interesting Trend

I lake  martin lot salesam about to list a new waterfront lot for sale on Lake Martin.  In the course of researching for every new piece of real estate, I run the numbers on similar sold property to see if I can spot any trends.  I must admit I was surprised to realize that:

Lake Martin Waterfront Lot Buyers Are Sticking in the ‘Hoods

From January 1, 2009, to June 20, 2010, 23 waterfront lots have sold on Lake Martin. Of those, 14 are located inside the higher end neighborhoods, mostly those developed by Russell Lands.  Check it out:

6 – The Ridge 6/23 = 26% of total sold

4 – The Preserve at Stoney Ridge (not Russell Lands) 4/23 = 18% of total sold

2  Trillium 2/ 23 = 9% of total sold

2 – River Oaks – ditto

If you add those up, that’s about 61% of lots sold are in these formalized neighborhoods. Before you are tempted to think “big deal” – consider this: as of this writing, there are 179 waterfront lots for sale on Lake Martin through the Lake Martin MLS.  At our current sales rates, that is about 11 years’ worth of inventory.

The Ridge 31/179  = 17% of total for sale

The Preserve at Stoney Ridge (not Russell Lands) 11/179 = 6% of total for sale

Trillium 6/179 = 3% of total for sale

River Oaks 14/179 = 8% of total for sale

200438021-001Did you see that?

These Lake Martin developments are selling at at least double, sometimes triple of their expected rates from the sales pool. Hey, no one should be bragging at these slow sales numbers overall.  But let’s at least acknowledge who is getting it done.

If You Own a Waterfront Lot – 2 Things to Take Away From This Post:

1. 11 years’ worth of inventory is still an extreme buyer’s market – that means, at current sales rates, if nothing else came on the market, it would take 11 years to sell all that we have for sale on Lake Martin right now.

2. You must know your competition – if you are outside of a Russell Lands neighborhood – you must market to those who are more likely to buy your lot.  We have over 700 miles of real estate around Lake Martin and only a tiny fraction are inside The Ridge, Trillium, Willow Point, etc.  In other words, there are great lots inside their neighborhoods, but there are also tons of great lots outside them. You (or your agent) must be able to verbalize the selling points of your specific lot to find your perfect buyer.

If you need help, please contact us at this form or the email address at the top of the page. We would love to talk to you about your lot.

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