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October 2009 Waterfront Sales On Lake Martin

Lake Martin waterfront real estate had another good month in October 2009.  There were 14 homes sold in the month, just about equaling the 15 waterfront properties sold in October 2008, according to the Lake Martin MLS*.

Once glance at the above chart can tell you that most real estate sales in the Lake Martin area really taper off in November and December.  Therefore I think it’s safe to say that most of our sales for 2009 are behind us, and we can start looking at the year as a whole.

2009 was a great year for Lake Martin waterfront real estate.  Market wide, we have already outsold both 2008 and 2007.  In fact, I think the numbers show that our rally started back in August or September of 2008. That’s why I am not too concerned that October 2009 was beaten by October 2008 by one sale.  By October of 2008 we were on a winning streak that continues to now.

On another positive note for sellers, the number of homes for sale on Lake Martin has come down this month.

Perhaps this trend will continue until the normal seasonal buildup in January.

Analysis Of Lake Martin Market

I will save a full analysis for a bit later.  For now, I just wanted to dash off this quick post for October’s results.  But I will go ahead and say that, after a closer look at the numbers, I will probably be “calling the bottom” for our market. Who knows what the short term future will hold, but I think it’s fairly obvious that, long term, the worst is behind us.

What Do You Think?

Please comment below….

Related Posts:

All Lake Martin Voice Posts on Market Statistics

(*)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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Hey Timmy- This Lake House Would Be Perfect

The other day I had a friend pass through the Lake Martin area who invited me to lunch.  To protect his privacy, and to ensure that this isn’t the last time he buys my lunch, let’s call him Timmy.

We went to Catherine’s and had a nice talk mainly about two subjects: a.) Lake Martin real estate, and b.) how he had forgotten how funny my sister and brother-in-law are.

On the printable subject of Lake Martin real estate, he asked these questions:

1. Are there any deals left for “regular cabin” people?

2. How can someone buy a lake home for $2 million then only come down three times a year?

240 bayou lake martinMy answer to the first is yes, this year I have had really good luck helping several people buy waterfront homes under $300k, if not several under $250k.  Granted, they are hard to find, but if you scrap around and are ready to pounce, they are there.  Timmy agreed that I need to put him at the top of the list on those type of deals.

Secondly, I agree – but mine is not to reason why.

I Missed My Big Sales Moment

When I got back to the office, the two subjects snapped together in my mind, and I realized I missed my big sales moment.  I should have offered him a solution.  Zig would not be proud.

My answer to the second question should have been:

Well, Timmy, you have a job, a wife, kids, church, activities – how many weekends do you honestly see yourself coming to Lake Martin?

This question would seemingly put me on a direct failure path to the two big Lake Home Killer Objections: No Time and No Money.

Why on earth would any realtor who desires to feed his family ask such a question?

Because it would have led him to what I believe is his best solution: go in halvsies with a friend and buy 240 Bayou Road.

Let The Blatant Pimping Begin

Please know that in three years of blogging I rarely pimp my own listings.  I will mention them in an oh by the way, but I figure everyone is smart enough to click on the My Listings page if they want.  This is an exception:

At $599k, the home at 240 Bayou is realistic if you are on a tight budget – if you take in a partner.

The #1 objection that most people looking at the $300k level is they want more house or want a better lot / view / privacy.  Here you can have an awesomely huge lot, that is flat, deep water, big view, and woodedly private. You get a great house that is not a cold museum-like homage to decorating magazines, but a modern but fun, livable cabin.

And by sharing the lake home, you may have to split the weekends, but at our age with kids, you can’t make it every weekend anyway.  Forget the guilt if you can’t use it as much.  Plus – and this is a big plus these days – you cut the ownership cost in half!

Check out the slide show:

Let’s say he admits he couldn’t get this much for $300k on his own.  I hear him ask, “but John, if we like someone well enough to go in partners on a lake house we’d like to see them.  If we split weekends, we would never have fun together.”

Again, Timmy, I am one step ahead.  240 Bayou has a guest house! They converted an old boat house years ago, but it is finished out beautifully with wood floors, a bathroom, tons of windows, vaulted ceilings, and a full kitchen.

Check out the listing video here or below

Did I mention the strong AU coaching connection?

Hey Timmy – buy this lake house!

If you would like to beat Timmy to a great deal, contact me by phone or email address at the top of the page.

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Strong September Sales Slay 2007 At Lake Martin

Lake Martin waterfront real estate is on a tear.

Last month, we saw August’s year to date totals exceed the entire year of 2008.  I speculated in this post that we had a good chance of defeating 2007’s 12 month total of 156 with a strong September.  Sure enough, 24 lakeside homes were sold by all agents in the Lake Martin MLS*, which gave 2009 a total of 162 homes sold.

Another one bites the dust.

Here is a chart showing Lake Martin waterfront property sales by month for the last three calendar years:

All of these big sales months add up.  As you can see from the cumulative chart below, if we look at the entire Lake Martin MLS, including all agents, all brokerages, everything, we sold 137 waterfront homes in the entire year of 2008.  We passed that mark in only 8 months this year.  In all months of 2007, 156 were sold.  So at 162 through 9 months in 2009, we have defeated yet another year.

Supply Remains High

We still have a lot of waterfront homes on the market.  One aspect of September’s sales results that I did not like to see was the increase in homes for sale on Lake Martin.  We were on a nice, seasonal downward slope that I was hoping would take us to more normal levels, away from the step ladder highs we have been witnessing over the past three years.  We increased to 494 homes for sale in September, up from 488 in August.

True, this number is still about 10% down from the all time high of 555 in 2009, but we are still 5% away from the 2008 high of 524. Sellers – YOU MUST CONTINUE TO PRICE AGGRESSIVELY! Please do not take this post as a sign you can ask whatever you want and get it.

Waterfront Lot Sales Remain in a Slump

All of the above info relates to Lake Martin homes, condos, town homes, etc.  It does not contain lots.  The number of waterfront lots sold has not picked up. Our year to date total of 16 in 2009 is on pace to match the 18 sold in all of 2008, and is a far cry from the 34 of 2007.

As with homes, we will need to see an increase in the number of waterfront lots sold before we see any movement in prices.

The Crowne Pointe Effect

To continue a theme started earlier this year, I will attempt to examine the effect of the fire selling of the Crowne Pointe condo complex.  Earlier this year, we discovered that while the condo sales certainly helped prop up the sales numbers for the lake as a whole, it was not the only driver of the sales resurgence.

What about now?  Most of the units in Crowne Pointe are sold and the buyers have closed already.  Now that the dust has mostly settled, what can we say about its effect on the Lake Martin real estate market?

We can see from the above chart that all non single family homes (which includes ALL condos, town homes, etc) sold this year represents about 36% of all sales.  The average from 2006 – 2008 is 18%. Interestingly, the average from 1-1-06 to 9-30-09 is about 20%.

Yes, we still have had a proportionately high number of non-single family homes sold in the waterfront market this year.  But if you remove its influence and back it down to the four year average of 20%, you are only removing about 16 sales, which still puts 2009 ahead of 2008 already.

My answer is the same as July: Crowne Pointe has helped, but has not made, the year’s sales.  2009 is / was strong on its own.

Related Posts:

All Lake Martin Voice Posts on Market Statistics

(*)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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Pics Of Lake Martin’s River Bridge From Lake Hill Restaurant

Yesterday afternoon I showed some waterfront homes and lots for sale in the Lake Martin neighborhoods of River Oaks and Stillwaters.  I was to meet the couple at the old Lake Hill Restaurant on highway 280 in Alex City.  Even though the restaurant no longer functions, it’s a great meeting spot because it’s right on 280, conspicuous, and close to the landmark of the River Bridge.  The parking lot is always empty except for boats that River North Marina stores there.

While I was waiting I walked up to the top of the hill, near the front stoop of the building.  It has been a while since I had been up there.  It’s a pretty view and was a nice day, so I took some pictures.

Here’s a picture looking south, essentially downstream of the old Tallapoosa River way.  My photo does not do justice of this old Lake Martin view:

Lake Martin looking south from River Bridge 280

Here’s a shot of the Highway 280 / River Bridge looking east:

Lake Martin Highway 280 Tallapoosa River Bridge

This is the North Lake Condominiums:

Lake Martin North Lake Condos

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List Of Lake Martin Waterfront Foreclosed / REO Property

If you want a list of Lake Martin foreclosed waterfront property – including homes and lots – for sale, please use the form that is linked below.

Click here for Lake Martin Waterfront Foreclosures

Thanks to reader K.L. that requested a list like this today.  It caused me to go into the Lake Martin MLS and update my list of foreclosed (REO) property.  It might not be a perfect list, but it’s the best one I’ve got.  So if you would like to see it, please fill out the form above and I will email you a link to a report I have created on the Lake Martin MLS.

FAQ About Lake Martin Waterfront Foreclosures List

Q1. Why can’t you just post a list here of what lots or homes are foreclosed? Why are you making me fill out a request form?

A1. OK but that’s really 2 questions.  A few reasons:

a. These homes and lots are from the Lake Martin MLS and are not (necessarily) my listings.
b. This list constantly changes and it would be a hassle to update and edit an HTML page.  It would be wrong almost as soon as I hit “Publish.”
c. The Lake Martin MLS allows me to create a “Listing Cart” to house them all, and I can add and subtract as I see changes within the MLS.

Q2. What will you do with my email address after you send?

A2. I will keep it and send you a monthly (or so) email about Lake Martin, unless you tell me you don’t want that.  I do not spam nor do I give, sell, buy, or receive email accounts from anyone or any other company.  My poodle will steadfastly guard your address; any trespassers will receive the full wrath of the horrible breath inexplicably produced by his 6.5 pound body.

Q3. Are Lake Martin foreclosures so special? Do I really need you? Why can’t I go to the huge sites that show the entire country’s foreclosures along with ads for lifestyle meds and “secret” celebrity diet plans?

A3. Yes, we’re special in that 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.  More Lake Martin specific foreclosure explanations here.

Q4. I’ve seen your list and it’s wrong.  I know for a fact my [neighbor, friend, relative, insert any noun] had their waterfront home foreclosed on Lake Martin, and it’s not on your list.  Why?

A4. This list only shows you what is actively for sale right now. If a waterfront home was foreclosed last year, and sold three months ago, it won’t be on the list anymore.  Similarly, if the foreclosure has gone through, and the lender has not placed it with a real estate agent yet, it won’t be on the list (yet).  Let me know if you see any errors, I will be happy to correct.

Q5. Do you sell Lake Martin foreclosures?

A5. Absolutely. If you would like me to send you only my foreclosed waterfront listings, let me know.  If you are a lender or some other institution that needs help selling, please contact me and I would be delighted to help and tell you about the specific program I have set up to help lenders manage their foreclosed properties.

Q6.  Where do you get your information?

A6. The Lake Martin MLS, mostly.  You can search it for free from my blog. All Multiple Listings Services are run by humans and therefore contain errors.  The listing agents for each property are the only ones authorized to input info about that property.

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Lake Martin Clinches Victory Over 2008 With Strong August 09

What other real estate market can claim they clinched by August 31?

Waterfront real estate sales* on Lake Martin in August 2009 absolutely destroys its prior year rival – selling 31 homes and posts the best month since 33 homes were sold May of 2006.  In the past 12 months, the current month’s number of lake homes sold has beaten the prior year 11 out of 12 times.

Apparently consumer confidence is coming back to Lake Martin homes. The 31 waterfront lake homes sold in August 2009 kills August 2008’s number of 20 and represents the best number of sales since the 33 sold in May of 2006.

Lake Martin Sales For 2009 In Total

If we apply the Lake Martin MLS total of 31 to the previous year to date total, we see that it brings a total of 138 homes. This is better than all 12 months of 2008 when 137 were sold, and it puts us on pace to beat 2007’s 12 month total of 156.

Lots Of Supply Keeps Pressure On Prices

The Lake Martin MLS shows that active listings did drop this month, but we are still near historic highs. This transitory market condition – rising number of sales but flat pricing – keeps the pressure on sellers to not raise their prices. Buyers have started to clue in to the opportunity on Lake Martin.

Predictions For Lake Martin Real Estate This Fall

I think prices will continue to be tight. I think the number of sales will drop off of this high for September, but they will be enough to beat last year, and to spell defeat for 2007.

Lake Martin Real Estate Market Talking Points

  • Market wide, number of sales through 8-31-09 have already surpassed 2008’s 12 month total
  • By 9-30-09 we will likely have more sales then 2007’s 12 month total
  • August 2009’s 31 sales was the best month of sales since May of 2006 sold 33
  • High inventory continues to pressure sellers to keep prices low

Maybe I should have started this post with my talking points.

Here’s to the Clinch!!
Lake Martin Sales Clinch
(*)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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The Crowne Pointe Effect

Crowne Pointe is a 90 unit waterfront condominium complex on Lake Martin.  It is off of Centerport Road, along Highway 50, on the south eastern side of the lake.  Its sales history offers a interesting look into the waterfront real estate market on Lake Martin.

Earlier this year, the lending bank took over ownership of Crowne Pointe from the developer.  When they did, they still had about (my wild guess) 3.5 of the 5 buildings’ worth of units to sell and close.  In order to sell the units, they slashed the asking prices from $599,000 to $319,000.

The result:  they are selling quickly.

As a matter of fact, the Lake Martin market as a whole is doing relatively well.  As I have documented, July and June were great months.

A natural question is, how much are Lake Martin sales being influenced by Crowne Pointe sales?

To answer the question, I took a look at the percentage of closed sales in the Lake Martin MLS that were condos or town homes this year, and compared that to prior years.  Here is what I found:

So far this year, from Jan. 1 2009 – July 31, 2009 – 36% of sales have been condos or town homes. Compare this to 12% in 2006, 27% in 2007, and 17% in 2008. If you average all three years, condos and town homes account for 18% of waterfront sales on Lake Martin.

Conclusion: Yes.  At double the normal condo / town home rate, Crowne Pointe is having a huge, statistically significant impact on 2009 sales on Lake Martin.

Another question: Is Crowne Pointe solely responsible for the upswing in sales this summer at Lake Martin?  I think not. Look at it this way:

If you look at all waterfront sales in the Lake Martin MLS from 1-1-2006 to 7-31-2009 – you get 634 sales.  132, or 21% of them are condos or town homes.  That means that this year we have 15% more than the three and a half year average.  If you removed that 15% from 105 total sales in 2009 through July 31, you are still at 90 sales, which is way more than the 72 that were sold through July 2008.

Remove The Crowne Pointe Effect, and 2009 is still a winner.  Leave it in, and 2009 is a strong winner.

(*)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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Desperately Seeking Lake Martin Property to Sell

That’s right.  Lake Martin and the rest of the real estate world is supposed to be in the throes of the worst market since 1979. Or is it the worst tulip bubblerecession since the Great Depression?  Or the worst potatoes since the Irish famine?  I get confused – I’ll have to check with the financial brainiacs like Matt Lauer, the MSNBC staff, or Miss Cleo.

Anyway, despite all of the doom and gloom some people are peddling, the Lord has blessed Lake Martin and me with a hot little run of sales over the past 6 weeks.  Of my 11 listings of waterfront homes or lots I had for sale at the beginning of the summer , 6 are sold or under contract.

If the above sentence doesn’t jinx me, nothing will.

My point is, praise God, He has blessed me to help some folks sell their homes.  I need more to sell.

So in the midst of a real estate market on Lake Martin that has more homes for sale than ever, at a time when most real estate “coaches” tell you to forget about sellers and bark for buyers, I (thankfully) find myself in the position of looking for sellers.

What kind of Lake Martin home owners?

What measure of success I’ve been blessed with has been of a certain type:  realistic, aggressive sellers.

Yes – I have also turned away business in record amounts, too.  Not that I’m too cool for it, but they were cases where I wasn’t the guy for the job. If you contact me and I don’t think I am a good fit for you, you will hear it from me first.

You don’t need to be desperate, just realistic.

That’s what I’m telling sellers at any price point.

If you know of any, please let me know!  Call me at the number at the top of the screen or contact me here!

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Lake Martin Waterfront Property Sales Jump In June

Lake Martin waterfront real estate sales had another great month in June 2009.  Defying most national trends, we have seen a modest rally this summer at Lake Martin.

According to the Lake Martin MLS (comprised of all Lake Martin realty offices, brokers, and agents), 24 waterfront homes and condos sold and closed in the month of June 2009.  This is the best month of sales since March of 2007, when we sold 25.

We also DECIMATED June 2008 – when only 7 sold.  I guess my headline could have read:


While it’s accurate, it is not very intellectually honest to focus on one month, I think.

The recent sales trend is even more impressive (statistically) to me to look at the above graph, which shows total sales for the year to date.  Through June 30, we have sold 77 homes on Lake Martin in 2009, as opposed to only 57 in January – June 2008.  That’s a 35% increase!  To me, that is significant.

We Lake Martin realtors are on track to sell more homes in 2009 that we did in 2008.  Will we beat 2007?  I think we have a decent chance.  Will we beat 2006’s total of 235?  Doubtful. But to put the current month’s sales of 24 in perspective, the most waterfront homes that have ever sold (as far as I can tell) was 37 – and that came in the seller’s market peak year of 2005, in April.


((Sidebar: Study the above MLS sales history for Lake Martin.  How many people do you think realized in 2004 that they were experiencing the second best waterfront sales market, and that 2005 would be the peak? Not me.  By the time we figured out how “hot” the Lake Martin market was, it was 2006, and already headed down.  How long will it take for us to properly interpret 2008?))

So what’s selling?

2009-06 ytd breakdown of 09 and 08 sales by price thru june

A natural question. I think the above chart shows us that in 2009 the Lake Martin sales are slightly more heavily weighted at lower prices, with the bulk at $200k – $399k.

The Crowne Pointe Effect

The Crowne Pointe condos have been selling well this summer. In fact I have been and am helping several buyers here (disclosure, I’m not the listing agent, ERA Lake Martin Realty is).

Have these condo sales unfairly inflated 2009’s numbers?

Not really. Through June 30, 2009, only about 29% of the waterfront sales on Lake Martin were condos as compared to 21% last year. However I do think that July 2009’s numbers will be affected by Crowne Pointe sales. Give them credit, Crowne Pointe is a great example of a seller that has adjusted their price and the market has reacted. Sure, current sales prices are half of what was offered at the peak, and people that paid over $500,000 for one might be wistful. But buyers of 2 bedroom units for $199,000 and 3 bedrooms for $319,000 are snapping them up.

My advice is to make your move now on Crowne Pointe, call me if you are interested.

Looking Forward

I predict that Lake Martin real estate sales will be strong again in July 2009, judging by what has already closed at this writing, and knowing what will close in this month.  Every month we have of strong sales increases my confidence that we might be at the bottom, and looking up.

For Every Post I Have Written On Sales Statistics, See:

Lake Martin Market Statistics Category

(*)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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May 09 Lake Martin Waterfront Sales Highest In 2 Years

The Lake Martin real estate market shook off a 24 month slump by posting 22 waterfront home sales in May 2009 through the MLS.

This is the highest recorded number of lake home sales since May of 2007 when 23 were sold.

This should be welcome news to sellers of lake front property, who saw sales sputter on Lake Martin in April. This rally brings 2009 total sales to 53, slightly ahead of 2008’s May to date total of 50.

Could this be a return to normalcy for the Lake, and for luxury second home markets as a whole?

It certainly is encouraging to see the current month trounce the same month last year. Year to year improvements on units sold are seen by many analysts as a critical sign of real estate recovery, and it is a statistic that I am hyper focused on for Lake Martin.

The Bad News (Or Good News To Buyers)

One thing that sellers did not like to see was the total number of waterfront homes for sale in the Lake Martin MLS ROSE AGAIN this month to a total of 555. I can’t find another month on record that had this many for sale. This dubious honor will no doubt keep the balance of supply and demand in the favor of buyers, for at least several months.

A Look Ahead

I am not ready to call the bottom yet.  I would like to see at least three or four months in a row of slayings like this. One interesting figure is that, as of this writing, there are 34 water front homes pending in the Lake Martin MLS.

How many of these will close in June? Some are short sales and are taking a long time during the due diligence phase.  Some are not short sales or foreclosures and will close in July anyway.

Right now, praise God, I have been busier than ever.  I have 5 homes under contract and probably 1 will close in June.  My point is, in June 2008, only 7 sold on the entire Lake.

Calling The Bottom - Yeah!!Therefore we have a good chance that if even half of current pending sales close in June 2009, Lake Martin sales will trounce June 2008.

Hey buyers – are you going to wait around and let all the good ones get picked over? Why not give me a call and let me point you to the best deals at 350k, 450k, 550k, and beyond?

To the reader – what do you think about this rally? Is this bull market cyclical or secularAre you ready to call the bottom? Why or why not?  Please leave a comment or reply below.

For Every Post I Have Written On Sales Statistics, See:

Lake Martin Market Statistics Category

(*)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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