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.
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.
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.
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.
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
(*)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.