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2015 is Lake Martin’s Best Year Ever!

Lake Martin had its best year ever for waterfront real estate sales in 2015.  Sales were better in 2015 than in the big real estate days of 2005. Please take a look at this market report for the Lake Martin waterfront real estate market. I shot this video in January with preliminary numbers, but they held true:

The Lake Martin real estate market report for 2015 reflects record numbers of waterfront homes sold and waterfront lots sold.2015 home sales

As you can see in the above chart waterfront home sales in the Lake Martin area were 24% ahead of the previous high in 2014 – with 360 sales in 2015.

December 2015 lot sales chart

And looking at the chart above waterfront lot sales were 15% ahead of 2014 – with 85 sales in 2015.

Keep in mind, these numbers are compiled from the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors’ Multiple Listing Service*.

The bottom line for Lake Martin waterfront real estate sales in 2015:

The bottom line is that we had a fantastic year here at Lake Martin. If you have been reading this blog or my column on AL.com, you know that all of 2015 has been outstanding. It really was just a matter of how great it was going to be.

Any time that any real estate market beats the prior year in number of sold units, that’s a great year. We have been doing this in the waterfront segment of Lake Martin since 2008, with no signs of slowing down.

What, if any, were the disappointments in the Lake Martin real estate market in 2015?

I had hoped for the “Triple Crown” – that is, 1.) Top year number of waterfront homes sold, 2.) top year of number of waterfront lots sold, and 3.) increase in waterfront home prices. While we definitely had the top number of waterfront homes sold on Lake Martin, and also an increase in pricing, we did not have the top year in number of lot sales. It’ snot like we had a bad year in lot sales. 85 sales is nothing to sneeze at, but it did not best the previous record of in 2005.

What about the future? Won’t the election hurt sales at Lake Martin? Or China’s economic slowdown? Or [insert your favorite doom and gloom item here]?

I think the Lake Martin waterfront real estate market is set up for another wonderful year in 2016. I don’t pay attention to macro-economic trends and I darn sure don’t listen to the so-called NAR economists. I watch the local numbers. As long as we are beating the prior year, I am not calling an end to this bull market. Beating the same month from the prior year is per se an increasing market.

For example, as great as 2015 was here at Lake Martin, please note that 9 waterfront homes were sold in January of 2015. Compare that with 12 sold in January 2016. As a market, we have already sold as many waterfront homes in the first 17 days of February 2016 than we did in the entire month of February 2015.

In other words, 2015 was hot, but 2016 is starting hotter!!

When it slows down, trust me, I will be the first one to call it. I am not afraid to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But until then, don’t worry about the price of tea in China because it apparently is not affecting Lake Martin real estate.

If you have any questions, please contact John Coley with Lake Martin Voice Realty at 334 221 5862 or emailing directly at john (at) lakemartinvoice (dot) com.

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Copyright notice – the above, and every other post on this blog, is the property of John Coley, Broker, Lake Martin Voice Realty. Appraisers may use my information in their appraisals without charge or asking, but please give me credit by citing me, my company name and title, and website address of http://lakemartinvoice.com.  If anyone else would like to use this information, please contact me here and ask. I probably will let you do it, just please ask!

(*)Disclaimers: All of the above info was taken from the Lake Martin Area Association of RealtorsMultiple 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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Spring 2015 Market Report for Lake Martin

March 2015 was another great month for Lake Martin waterfront home sales.

The graph below was provided by the Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE). On it you can see the number of homes sold monthly and the amount of inventory in the Lake Martin area during those months. ACRE’s chart shows the months of March for 2007 through 2015.

March has been consistently been a good month for Lake Martin waterfront home sales.(*) In 2015, 36 homes were sold in the month of March. This number includes sales from all brokerages and real estate agencies that participate in the Lake Martin MLS. In 2014, there were 28 homes sold in the month of March, so there was an 8 home increase in sales from 2014 to 2015. This is impressive, because 2014 was a record year for sales. The previous record year for sales was in 2005, when 30 waterfront homes were sold in March.

Lake Martin Home Price Changes?

A question I hear a lot is, “if Lake Martin home sales are up, what about prices?”

It’s a great question. When I looked back at the entire year of 2014, I did not see evidence of a huge price increase for waterfront property. What I saw, maybe, was a slight increase. Perhaps a couple of percent, but it’s hard to parse the numbers that tightly. Looking forward, I think you have to consider the amount of waterfront homes for sale right now on Lake Martin.

There are currently 358 homes for sale right now in the Lake Martin MLS. In comparison, there were 324 homes for sale at this time in 2014. Back in 2005, there were 180 homes for sale and prices went up from 2005 to 2006.  To emphasize this point, I cut the ACRE chart down to only the years of 2005, 2014, and the current year.  For example, in 2005, when we had 180 homes for sale and selling 30 homes a month, it was only 6 months of inventory being sold.

I think that 2015 will be the first year in a while that we will be able to go up in price. I don’t think we will see huge (30%) price jumps like we saw in 2005 because of the ratio of sales to inventory. But I do think we have a pretty good chance for a home price increase here at Lake Martin.

Only time will tell, so check back for more market reports as the year goes on.

Do You Need Help At Lake Martin?

I’m a full time real estate agent here at Lake Martin. I write these market reports help my clients. Do you need help with buying or selling at Lake Martin, please contact me, John Coley, by using this contact form, calling me at 334 221 5862 or emailing directly at john (at) lakemartinvoice (dot) com.

Copyright notice – the above, and every other post on this blog, is the property of John Coley, Broker, Lake Martin Voice Realty. Appraisers may use my information in their appraisals without charge or asking, but please give me credit by citing me, my company name and title, and website address of http://lakemartinvoice.com.  If anyone else would like to use this information, please contact me here and ask. I probably will let you do it, just please ask!

(*)Disclaimers: All of the above info was taken from the Lake Martin Area Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. Accuracy is not guaranteed but deemed reliable. The above does not include sales by   FSBOs or developers that sell privately and not through the MLS. But, I do think that the above represents a very large majority of all waterfront sales on Lake Martin, Alabama.

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February 2015 Lake Martin Market Report

Often, I’m asked, “How is the market doing in 2015 compared to 2014?” In short, I think its doing great! If you look at the graph below provided by the Alabama Center for Real Estate, you can see that February 2015 sales doubled from February 2014. In February 2015, sales were at 14, compared to sales at 7 in February 2014.

Feb 2015 market report graph

The yellow line, represents the inventory levels. The levels are the same, and certainly a lot better than they were in the dark days of 2007. Overall, when you look at the big picture, you can see that supply on the inventory side is similar and demand on the sale side is similar. We are poised for another great year here at Lake Martin.

Hear more about this in the video below.

 

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Lake Martin Home Sales Still Strong In May

Waterfront home sales on Lake Martin, Alabama continue to look good.

Through the Lake Martin MLS,* 21 waterfront homes were sold in May 2010 compared to 22 in 2009, 14 in 2008, and 23 in 2007.

Here is an associated chart that shows monthly waterfront homes sales on Lake Martin since 2007:

lake martin home sales thru may 2010

If we take a look at the cumulative results, Lake Martin real estate fans will see that 2010 is still tracking way ahead of last year and 2008. I think 2008 was the bottom for the Lake Martin real estate market, so I certainly expect it to be beating 2008.

I am a firm believer that the leading trend statistic to watch in real estate, Lake Martin or otherwise, is comparing this month’s sales versus the same month of the prior year. Therefore it gives me a little pause when I see that May 2010 lost, albeit by one waterfront home sale. Even with sales in the twenties, though, I just don’t think that number is too statistically significant. In other words, one – schmone.  It was pretty much a tie.

Now, if we see that June ’10 loses to June ’09, we may have spotted a trend here. But from what I am seeing on the market now, and the level of sales activity that has spiked up, I don’t think that will be the case.

How Are Prices Trending?

I think that prices are still under a lot of pressure.  There is still a lot of waterfront homes for sale on Lake Martin, and, despite the sales momentum, prices are kept low.  This is evidenced by the silence at the same old overpriced homes, while the homes that come back on the market with reduced prices get the first attention of buyers.

Here is a graph of all of the waterfront homes for sale right now on Lake Martin:

Influence of the Oil Spill

Another question I get a lot is what, if any, influence is there of people fleeing to Lake Martin property as a reaction to the oil spill in the gulf?

I think the answer is – it’s still too early to quantify the impact on sales. True, I have had several new buyers to call me that were on the fence considering beach  vs. lake and they say this has swayed them, but they haven’t bought yet.

I have noticed a marked increase of people calling me about short term rentals on Lake Martin.  I guess they canceled their beach condo rental and are looking for a substitute.  I don’t handle rentals so I always refer them to others.  I must admit my random rental calls have doubled.  Will these people fall in love with Lake Martin, and then decide to buy?  Who knows.  I can’t imagine that it hurts the lake.

Let me say this, I know a lot of really good agents all up and down the Gulf Coast and I hope this doesn’t affect them too drastically.

Looking Forward

We are still relatively early in the sales season at Lake Martin.  The crucial months of June, July, and August will really tell us how serious 2010 waterfront sales are. It’s simply too early to guess.  Praise God, I have been twice as busy as I was this time last year with buyers and sellers.  I am sure other agents must be experiencing the same things, and this leads to more real estate sales on Lake Martin.

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 Real Estate Sales – 2008 Year In Review

The waterfront property sales in the Lake Martin MLS* ended the year by tying 2007’s December sales of 4.

lake martin waterfront property sales 2008

When we looked at November 2008 sales for Lake Martin, we saw that 2008 monthly sales were starting to beat 2007.  How did we finish the year?

On a whole, 2008 proved unable to beat the infamous drought year of 2007.  In total, 137 waterfront homes were sold through the MLS on 2008, which was about 12% less than 2007’s number of 156.

Check out the graph of cumulative sales:

To put this decrease into perspective, see the below chart.  It shows by month, sales of waterfront Lake Martin residences in the MLS.  You can see the decrease of number of sales from 2007 to 2008 of 12%.   Also consider that this is the third year in a row of consecutive decreases.

What did prices do on Lake Martin in 2008?

Another natural question is to look for evidence of falling prices in such a strong buyer’s market.  If you compare 2007 to 2008, it is interesting to note that at the low end and the high end, 2008 actually had more sales. As always, there are some sales that report “0” as the sales price.  If you take these sales out, it looks like:

Looking at the sales, I think this was due to many sales of leased lot mobile homes on the low end, and spec homes on the high end. Of the 24 homes sold at or above $1 million, about 14 were in the Ridge.

But this still does not give us any real feeling of a basic question that I get asked all of the time: Are Lake Martin sellers finally dropping prices?

I have said this many times before, but I will repeat – the Lake Martin area real estate market, especially waterfront property – is a relatively small pool of sales statistics from which to draw.  Sure, the lake itself is huge, but in terms of number of sales, we are small even by Alabama standards.  When you try to draw too many broad conclusions from a small set of data, you get weird results.  Nevertheless, I thought I could see some interesting trends if I looked at statistics like Total Sales Volume, Days On Market, and Average Price.  Check out these factoids covering 2005 – 2008:

sales-factoids-05-thru-08

Most of these factoids seem pretty logical and follow the pattern that we by hindsight know – that 2005 was the peak of an extreme seller’s market, and 2006 saw a transition to a buyer’s – and by 2008 we are at the other end of the spectrum, and extreme buyer’s market.  The Sold Price as a % of List Price decreases.  OK, check.  I get that.  Average Days on Market for sold listings dramatically increase, OK.  Active Listings balloon, almost doubling.  Right.

But wait – Lake Martin Average Price INCREASES?  Sure it came down a little in 08 but did it almost DOUBLE from 05 to 07?  That is counter intuitive.  My gut tells me no.  My gut tells me that the average is badly skewed by a few high sales prices, and since 2008 sold less than 50% of homes than 2005, it affects the average a lot more.

So is my gut correct?  Only one way to find out.

Searching For A Bell Curve

What will Lake Martin sales look like if I break them up into price categories and then divide by total sales? For example, in 2005, there were 77 homes sold in the $200k – $299k price range, and 284 total that year.  77 divided by 284 is about 27%.  That’s what gives you the peak in 2005’s line below.  It removes influence of the amount of each sale, and merely looks at each price category as it relates to the whole.  Then we can see how much each particular year is influenced by low or high end sales.  Here it is:

lake martin real estate sales history

If you care to view the numbers behind the chart, click here.

I believe that this graph clearly shows that the average reported waterfront sales prices of residences on Lake Martin in 2008 was definitely skewed by an unusually large percentage of high end sales.  The aqua line represents 2008.  Fully 18% of 2008 sales were above $1 million – while only 2% were in 2005.  18 divided by 2 is 9 – 9 times more greatly influenced by the high end.  That’s NINE TIMES, Ferris. Nine times.

Well, this is because things got more expensive, you might say.  No, I disagree.  If all prices increased, we would see more of a shift of the entire curve – as we saw from 2005 to 2006.  You can see that the peaks of 2006 and 2007 are definitely ahead of 2005 – to me a clear sign of overall price increases.  But check out what happens to the peak in 2008 – it drops back!

On all but the top 20% of sales on Lake Martin, 2008 was a year of decrease prices!  How much I am not willing to say.  Remember, we’re dealing with small samples.  For example, to look at this graph and say, since the peak in 2006 and 2007 was in the 400s, and it dropped back to the 300s in 2008 – it would be incorrect to think that the whole market decreased 25%.  But I do think it is OK to say we experienced a downward trend.

SO WHAT MATH NERD??!? WHO CARES? HOW DOES THIS HELP ME?!?

I can think of several applications for 2009:

BUYERS:

1. Anyone that has been waiting until prices come down can quit waiting.  It is happening.

2. Observe that for sellers, their sweet spot came in 2006, when prices were still rising even though more and more homes were flooding onto the market.  It took them a while to catch on that the end was coming.  HOW LONG WILL YOU WAIT TO BUY?

3. This cycle WILL swing back. Will you be burned like some sellers were in 2006, gambling that prices would rise again in 2007, only to be hit with the drought then the bank meltdown?  When else in history have buyers had this perfect storm on their side?

SELLERS:

1. This should show you that now, more than in the last 4 years, buyers are extremely price sensitive.  They are reacting to aggressively priced homes, not homes with crazy list prices.

2. There are TONS of other homes on Lake Martin for sale.  The buyer can pick among several good candidates.  You are not as special as you were in 2005.

3. Know your competition – look at your home and decide, what price point would I be in?  What would be my competition?  Regardless of the price, be competitive within that category.  Also, choose a price that justifies not stepping up or stepping down.

In Summary

Sorry for the long post, but I just couldn’t break this info up and it make any sort of sense.

Please note that I am not trying to break the news that it’s a buyer’s market and prices are dropping.  That’s obvious.  Similarly I realize I am not the first to discover the bell curve.  But – I do think it is tremendously exciting to finally have a mechanism to observe pricing trends that isn’t too mangled by our small sample size.

Call me a dork, but I love it.  I love Lake Martin real estate, so to me this is big.  Indulge me, OK?

(*)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.

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Market Statistics Category

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