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:
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:
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:
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.
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.