South Walton Real Estate Sales Summary for December 2010

January 6, 2011 by Murray Balkcom

As 2011 rang in, so did real estate sales figures, closing out 2010. Over the next few weeks, I will report details on different segments of the real estate market in SoWal.

Many people have asked how 2010 compares to previous years and I now have the answers.

Having historical data, we can see trends in the market’s direction which may be helpful in understanding where the market may be going in the future. Also, we will analyze specific communities at the beaches of South Walton and see how Rosemary Beach sales compare with WaterColor and WaterSound for 2010, as well as seeing how they compare since they began.  There is much to discuss, so stay tuned.
 

Looking at the big picture, the sold dollar volume of homes, condos and town homes (combined) increased 19% in December 2010 compared to November.

What does the first quarter of 2011 hold? That is a good question. Historically, the last few years have seen similar results — dollar volume of sales increasing from January through June.  In the chart above, you can see that was true for 2009 (red) and mostly true for 2010, except for February taking a dip, then the “BP effect” on sales on June. January sales typically dip slightly compared to the prior December, so if that holds true for 2011, we will see a slight tick downward in January.
 

Interestingly, we saw a slight dip in the quantity of sales in December compared to November, while we have a much higher dollar volume of sales, which also relates to having a higher median price of sales. The median sold price jumped 22%, from $280,000 in November to $342,000 in December.

The one thing we cannot do is predict the future. There are many unknown market forces at work behind the scenes, such as interest rates, tax incentives, opportunity cost of money, consumers’ confidence in the market, etc. Some suggest that we can expect to see interest rates creep slightly upward in 2011, but historically, we remain at very low interest rates, and low rates help to excite buyers and increase sales. To help us take an educated guess on where the market may be headed, we have the advantage of looking at pending sales. Pending sales are simply indicators, and not all pending sales necessarily result in closed sales.

In November and again in December, we saw a strong number of pending sales for homes, condos and townhomes. Compared to December 2009, in December 2010, pending sales increased 37%.  Will this high number of pending sales give us stronger than average results in January? We cannot predict, but it is possible, and if so, may lead us into a very strong first quarter for 2011.
 

The biggest news for December 2010 was not condos, town homes, or residential lot sales. It was home (detached) sales. South Walton had a reported 15% increase in the quantity of home sales in December, compared to November. We are getting close to some of the highest levels of home sales since the burst of the market in 2006 and it is happening during the traditionally slow winter!

Median price of homes sold in December jumped 48%, from $312,140 in November to $461,000 in December. This is also up 29% compared to December 2009.

December home sales in South Walton have been incredible. Total dollar volume of homes sold in December 2010 was reported at $39,599,108, an increase of 47% compared to November. 

December is usually very slow since many people are in holiday mode, but December 2010 was the best month for home sales since May (BP oil spill).  Inventory continues to trend downward and we are approaching 2005 levels, which are still high numbers, but nearly half of the 2007 numbers. Much of the current inventory is not selling as buyers and sellers cannot find the common meeting ground. However, when a good property hits the market at a reasonable price, it moves quickly. We are seeing the price of quite a few properties finally getting in line with buyer’s perception of value and that leads to sales.

Murray Balkcom, GRI, is a licensed Realtor with The Premier Property Group.

All sales data referenced above is provided by Emerald Coast Association of Realtors and is thought to be accurate but not guaranteed.

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Murray Balkcom

A licensed realtor and outdoor enthusiast. 

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