January NEFAR Market Statistics May Surprise You!

February 22, 2010


Sherry DavidsonIf you have been reading my market analysis for the last few months, you probably think you can skip this one because I have been saying the same thing over and over. Well this month brings a few surprises.

My first surprise is that closed sales for January 2010 were about 40% less than December 2009. There were 1,316 closings in November, 1,365 in December and 834 in January.

This looks like very negative news, but I believe the reason for the decline in closings was mainly due to short sales. We saw lenders approving and closing short sales in December to get them closed by year end. Maybe the holidays were also a factor, but we did not see any short sales making it through the process in January.

The pending sales numbers continue to look great. There were 1,241 pending sales in November, 1,261 in December and 1,300 in January. If the sales continue, one would assume the closings will come next.

Another surprise in the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors market stats was a drop in median and average sales prices. The median sales price dropped from $139,850 in December to $133,990 in January. The average sales price dropped from $169,377 in December to $164,616 in January. I have been saying for months that I thought prices were stabilizing.

Well in the zip code where most of our business is located prices are not dropping, which is why I was so surprised by the report. The average price in the 32092 zip code was:
October 2009  $163,883
November 2009 $172,815
December 2009 $228,546
January 2010  $229,850

I am not ready to say that our prices are increasing, but we are selling more property in slightly higher price ranges and we are not seeing prices falling. I know in the size market area that Northeast Florida Association of Realtors covers, some areas have adjusted sooner than others.

A statistic that wasn’t a surprise to me is that more than 50% of the closings in January were Short Sales or Foreclosures. There are many people in our area having trouble paying their mortgages. If you know of anyone that needs assistance with their home, please advise them to contact a Realtor that is a Certified Distressed Property Expert and get help.

I continue to see positive signs in our industry. Buyer activity is up and inventories are continuing to decline. Sales are up and closings will be back on track. Interest rates and home prices are amazingly low and many people qualify for the Homebuyer Tax Credits.

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