July 2015 Market Report for Lake Martin

Lake Martin home sales have been great, but what is the magic statistic that lets us know if home prices are on the rise?

Is there a magic statistic that lets us know that Lake Martin waterfront home prices are on the rise? I decided to look at a months of inventory, which I think can give us a better inclination if prices will be rising. If you are not familiar with the term, months of inventory can be found by taking the number of homes for sale now and dividing it by current month home sales.

In the case of July 2015, we had 359* waterfront homes for sale at Lake Martin, and we sold 42 waterfront homes on the whole lake, that’s all agents, all brokerages. That gives a months of inventory statistic of about 8 1/2 months. This means that if we sold at that rate in 8 1/2 months, we would run out of homes to sell.

Lake Martin watefront home sales July 2015 market report

It’s hard to tell if that’s the magic number or not. I like to look at trends and see where that number is going. I don’t really peg my hopes on any one statistic. Looking over some of the past years, in 2014 there was 11.1 months of inventory with 376 waterfront homes for sale on Lake Martin. In a year, our ratio has gone down with less homes for sale and more sales, which is great for sellers. 

To get some perspective on this statistic, I wanted to look at the best and worst summer months the Lake Martin real estate market ever had. If you look at July 2007, one of our worst summer months, there were 475 homes for sale and a months of inventory number of 43.18.   Terrible. Our best summer month we have ever had, May 2005, there were 144 homes for sale which equated to a  4.11 months of inventory.

Looking at this year, we are doing a lot better than last year with a 23% decrease. I’m going to keep watching this statistic. Will prices go up as fast as they did in 2005? I don’t think so, because there is not as much pressure – a higher months of inventory. But, I do think home prices are going up here at Lake Martin in 2015. We just have tons of momentum.

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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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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2010 A Win So Far For Lake Martin Real Estate

The Lake Martin waterfront real estate market is rather seasonal, as you may imagine.

Most of our market’s sales happen between March and October, so when a new calendar year rolls around we must pause to see what’s going to happen when spring gets here.

So far, 2010 has seen very strong sales* of waterfront homes. The first 4 months of the year are on pace to beat 2009, and individual months have beaten the same month in the prior year three out of four times:

If you add the monthly numbers together to see how it looks versus prior years on Lake Martin, you can see that we are already ahead of the “comeback year” of 2009.

This is an early indication that buyers maintain confidence that the bottom of the market was in 2008.

However, it is still early for sellers of Lake Martin waterfront homes, lots, or condos to rejoice.  There is still a lot of inventory for sale right now.

The above graph is for lake homes, but the story for waterfront lots is even worse.  I recently calculated that Lake Martin has about 10 years worth of inventory on the market right now.  In other words, at current sales rates, it would take 10 years for the demand to absorb what is for sale right now, assuming nothing new came on the market.

The Result

The result is a rather unique time in a the natural real estate sales cycle.  The number of homes sold is ramping up.  Demand is increasing; this is undeniable. But, prices are still under a lot of pressure because there is so much for sale.

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 – 2009 Year In Review

Strong sales of waterfront homes on Lake Martin showed us that 2008 was the bottom of the market.  2009 was the best year since 2006 for numbers of homes sold, but prices continued to take a beating.*

2009 proves to be a very interesting time for Lake Martin home and lot sales.  Please note that everything below relates to waterfront home, condo, and lot sales only.  There is a treasure trove of information here, and I would like to present it all.  This first post will attempt to cover the two major themes:

1. 2008 Was “The Bottom” And The Market Has Bounced Back

2. Prices Decreased Again

the details:

1. 2008 Was “The Bottom” And The Market Has Bounced Back

Grade A readers of Lake Martin Voice know that I am a firm believer of fellow RE blogger Nicolai Kolding’s Phases of the Real Estate Market. Basically, he holds that the number of homes sold LEADS pricing. In other words, keep your eye on how well the number of homes sold this month compares to the same month last year, because that trend signals the direction of average price sold.

I think that 2009’s strong number of waterfront homes sold finally lets us know that we HAVE seen the bottom, and it was 2008. That assumes you define “bottom” the way that most pundits do, that is, from a seller’s perspective.  I think a buyer might call it a peak and would interpret this as bad news.  Rather than parley about definitions, I offer the facts:

As you can see from the above chart, at Lake Martin, at least, the bottom was in 2008.  In 2009, just about every single month beat its counterpart for sales in the previous year.  When you look at the cumulative sales totals for the entire year, 2009’s dominance is evident.

In 2009, on the entirety of Lake Martin, all agents, all brokerages, all (reported) sales, tallied 194 waterfront home sold.  Compare that to 137 in 2008 and 156 in 2007.  It still wasn’t as good as 2006, but hey, you’ve got to like the trend.

The Convincing Bullets:

  • The magnitude of the beating that 2009 put on 2008 convinced me.  194 sales vs. 137 means that we were 42% up from last year.
  • The beating was consistent across almost all months – no one fluke month
  • Was not caused by one big sell off – Crowne Pointe helped but did not make the year great
  • If you don’t agree, what will convince you? I’m not trying to be challenging, I’m curious. Please comment below and let me know if you have a different opinion and upon what numbers you base it.

2. Prices Decreased Again

It’s very hard to track average sold prices in a small real estate market like Lake Martin. Our small sample size makes that number swing wildly month to month, which is why I crunch this number (officially) only once a year.

In my Lake Martin Real Estate: 2008 Year In Review post I laid out a method to study average sold price trends at Lake Martin. I looked at each sale recorded in the MLS, removed those with an unreported sales price, and then categorized the others in several price strata – like $0 – $99,999; $100,000 – $199,999; and so on. This resulted in a nice little bell curve to visually represent the average sold price patterns.

When I did the same analysis this year I found plenty of evidence to lead me to believe that property prices dropped again in 2009. This marks the second year in a row of devaluation. See the below chart:

Focus on the gray line of 2009. See how it shifted backwards, and evened up with 2005? There you go.

Take a look at the peak in 2009. 52 of 194 homes – or 28% – sold in the range of $200,000 – $299,999

Note – I don’t think this simply means that more “cheap homes” were sold. Look at how much of the total area is under the price of $500,000. Find the peak of 2006 and 2007, then draw a mental line down to the X axis. Most of 2009’s sales are behind (to the left) of it.

Bullets to ponder:

  • Does this mean that home prices are back to 2005 levels?  In some cases, yes.
  • When will the drops stop?  I think 2010 will hold steady, because of point #1 above.
  • Is now a bad time to sell? If you have to sell it for what you paid in 2007, yes.  If you can be flexible, no. It might not be pretty but the rising sales numbers prove we can get it done.

Looking Forward

Basically, my outlook is positive for 2010. As long as we convincingly beat 2007 and 2008 in number of homes sold, I will feel good about calling the bottom. If we don’t, I still think we will need to analyze 2010 on its own merits and not as a hangover from the drought of 2007 or bank woes of 2008. In my opinion 2008 will still be a bottom in its own right.

1. I think home sales will equal 2009 (approximately)
2. I think average prices will finally quit dropping, and stay about the same as 2009.

I will give further numbers behind my theories in later posts, but I formed them on the timing of the home sale turnaround, and will try to quantify the lag between that and average sold price moves.

SELLERS – Yes, we can. Please contact us – we can tailor a pricing, staging, and marketing plan specific to your property. Praise God, last year was our brokerage’s best sales year ever. We have a method that combines industry leading marketing and old fashioned elbow grease.  It works.

BUYERS – The clock is ticking. Yes, there are still awesome deals out there, but it takes a lot of sifting to find them, and then it takes experience to be able to negotiate the best deal. Now is the time to end the “I should have bought years ago” blues.

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Waterfront Lots
Lake Martin Real Estate Sales 2009 – Further Study (coming soon)
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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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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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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Lake Martin Posts Best Real Estate Sales Month In Post Bubble Era

July 2009 was the Lake Martin real estate market’s * best month since July 2006.

It terminated the July 2008 total of 15, and beat any other month on record going back to the 28 homes sold in July 2006. As loyal readers (and my real estate clients know) I am focused on the current month beating the same month last year.  This makes three consecutive months of 2009 victories over 2008 (July 09 vs July 08, June 09 vs June 08, etc.).  As we have learned from this seminal post by Nicolai Kolding, the number of homes sold must beat prior years BEFORE we see a rebound in sales prices and market phases.

That’s what we are seeing now.  2009 is beating 2008, handily, at that. See below.

Is This A Sign That The Waterfront Homes Market Has Already Hit Bottom And Is Climbing Back?

Let’s step back and look at the entire year of Lake Martin MLS sales and compare it to other years.  When we do that, we find that this strong month has pushed 2009 way above 2008, and tied it with the (horribly dry environmental event that shall not be named) year of 2007.

Behold:

The total number of waterfront homes sold in the Lake Martin MLS is up 46% over last year, and is tied with 2007.  Through the end of July, 105 homes have sold in 2009.  Through the end of July 2008, only 72 had.  That’s 46%, folks.

I think we have a good chance at a good August, and  I think by the end of September  / mid October we will have a shot at clinching a victory over 2008 as a whole.

Where are we now?

Given the sales climate at Lake Martin right now, I think it is worth at least considering that we may be in Kolding RE Phase VII. I am not saying we are there, I am merely suggesting that we are pretty close, and need to consider it.  At Lake Martin, our small sample size prevents us from looking at average price movements mid-year, so we are flying a bit blind, here.  But all good generals look at least 3 moves ahead.

Phase VII is the buyer’s sweet spot!

In Phase VII, the numbers of sales are increasing, thereby lessening risk (since you’re buying in a “rising” market) yet prices are still decreasing from supply pressures (aka “too many” homes for sale).

Does this fit the bill at Lake Martin? On the supply side the answer is yes. See the below graph. Even though we have started the seasonal draw down of waterfront homes for sale, we are still near record highs.

Phase VII to a buyer is like Relationship Phase Two to Seinfeld.

Phase / Schmase, What Does it Mean To ME?

Buyers – please give me a call or email.  I can help you NOT WASTE TIME on the “good deal” siren song, and plug you in immediately to what I feel will be the properties best suited for the ride back up – and MORE IMPORTANTLY – a great place for your family to make memories – which really should be the point of a Lake Martin home or lot, anyway.

Sellers – as you can see, homes ARE SELLING – but you must be priced, staged, and marketed right in order to rise above all of this market noise.  I have almost sold myself out of listings, praise God. I am interested in talking to YOU, TODAY!

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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Lake Martin Waterfront Sales Sputter In April

After several consecutive months of meeting or beating prior year’s sales, waterfront homes sold on Lake Martin dropped in April 2009 to 9 total, 7 fewer than were sold in April 2008.

When I wrote about the number of Lake Martin homes sold in the first quarter of 2009 in this post, I commented that there were many homes with the status of pending, meaning that they were under contract to sell.  I thought that if all those closed, we would easily beat April of 2008.  But apparently many of those are still under contract.  Maybe this means that May 2009 will trounce May 2008, because at this writing there are 28 pending and in May 2008 there were only 14 homes that closed. Granted, I am sure that some may be homes under construction, or condos with long due diligence phases.  I do think that Lake Martin (like almost all other markets) is experiencing longer times between contract agreement and closing.  Lenders (more specifically their underwriters) are requiring more and more red tape and documents during the process, so it is taking longer to close.

Here is the chart showing monthly waterfront sales on Lake Martin.  You can see the drop in April 2009:

Once you add them up cumulatively, you can see that 2009 is already behind 2008.

We will have to wait and see if Lake Martin has a surge of sales in May to make up for the stall in April.  Please keep in mind, these statistics are for the entire Lake Martin MLS, all realtors, all brokerages. Here is a look at the numbers only:

Obviously a big part of the equation is the amount of waterfront homes and condos for sale, aka Active Listings.  Take a look at this graph of the total waterfront listings in the Lake Martin MLS, starting in 2007:

You can see that in December 2007 and January 2008, the listings bottomed out at about 341, and then rose from there.  It looks like we also found a bottom in December 2008 and January 2009, but at 421, which was a 23% increase from prior year.  Will we continue to see more homes come on the market in 2009?  Personally I do not think we will see as many homes come on the market in 2009 because as I stated in this post covering first quarter 2009 sales, there are virtually no new spec homes being built right now. Sure, there are a few here and there, but I don’t think they will be a big effect.  Look at the huge leap from January to May 2008.  We didn’t see that this year, but we ended up in the same place.  My biggest question with supply is if we will have fewer new spec homes on the market, will they be replaced by Lake Martin foreclosures, short sales, and lender REO?

Looking Deeper

Since the late spring is such a crucial time in the Lake Martin real estate market, let’s take a deeper look at the numbers and answer some general questions like:

1.   Of all the homes for sale right now on Lake Martin, how many are homes, how many are condos, and what is the price breakdown?
2.  What is the price breakdown of homes and condos that have sold in 2009 so far?
3.  What about Lake Martin waterfront lots for sale?

1. Lake Martin Homes and Condos For Sale Right Now

If you check the Lake Martin MLS, there are 851 residences for sale right now.  559 of those are waterfront.  557 are on Lake Martin.  Of that 557, 158 are listed as condos or town homes.  7 are mobile homes.  So that leaves 392 single family homes that are on the water.  I think that is overstated, as I have seen many condos that are incorrectly designated as homes, but for now I will work with these.

Of the 392, only 23 are on leased lots.

The price breakdown of the 392 homes for sale on Lake Martin is:

2.Sold Homes and Condos

Here is how that same chart looks if we apply it to the 31 homes that have sold through April 30, 2009:

3. Lake Martin Waterfront Lots Breakdown

At this writing, if you run a search in the Lake Martin MLS, and you select “Waterfront” = Y, you find that there are 162 lots for sale.   If you look more closely, you find that four of those are on Yates Lake, seven on Lake Tallassee, one on Lake Jordan, and seven are on private lakes or “other.”  If we are focusing only on Lake Martin, that leaves 143 lots for sale on Lake Martin.  Here is the price breakdown:

In short, we have an big oversupply of lots for sale.  To put it into perspective, look at it beside the sales and inventory statistics, as of April 2009:

You read that right, yes, only 3 lots have sold through the MLS on the entire lake so far this year.  2008 was the same story.  It is interesting to note that in May 2008 7 sold, the equivalent of 20 months of inventory, which is approaching a balanced market condition.  It tells me that the market has the potential, in spurts, to act normal. So what’s holding it back? Price, I think.  Sellers, especially lot sellers, need to take a long hard look at price because they have 3 times the relative amount of competition than do home or condo sellers.

APPLICATION

If you made it this far, you have to be wondering, what does this all mean to me?

Buyers– If you are interested in buying property on Lake Martin right now, the biggest problem you will have will be sorting through all of the noise.  Yes, there are good deals out there, and yes there are still some overpriced dogs.  When your perfect spot comes available, will you be ready?  Call me, I can help you find your dream home or lot!

Sellers: Do not despair, you CAN still sell in this environment, but it requires extraordinary effort from you and your agent.  Call me, I can help you address these 3 crucial aspects of selling: 1.) pricing, 2.) staging, and 3.) marketing.

Related Posts:

Lake Martin Sales – 2008 Year In Review

Lake Martin Sales – 2007 Year In Review

Or for every post I have done on the subject:

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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