South Walton Real Estate Sales Summary for October 2010
November 7, 2010 by Murray Balkcom
October seems to bring the best weather along with the most brilliant emerald-green gulf water and some of the best sunsets of the entire year. 2010 was no exception.
Real estate sales also looked better in October than they have for the last few months, as expected by the high number of pending contracts carried over from September.
Typically in the Fall, real estate sales in South Walton slide off and continue to do so throughout the winter. However, in 2009, we saw an unusually strong fall and winter as some sellers became realistic with their prices and buyers moved back into the market.
We'll see if that trend continues in 2010, but it is too early to tell. I think the bump in October sales may have been due to people jumping back in after not seeing damage to the beaches by the Deep Horizon spill, which had pulled sales down tremendously for June and July.
Pending sales in August were fairly strong and we had a good number which seemed slower to close. It appears as if some of those did close October. More positive news is that in September and October, there were a large number of pending sales which may carry over to closed sales in the upcoming months. Pending sales for homes, condos and town homes in South Walton during Oct 2010 are up 39% compared to pending sales in Oct 2009.
Continuing to look at homes, condos and town homes sold in South Walton, we saw an 11% increase in the number of sales compared to last month, Sept 2010, with 124 reported to Emerald Coast Association of Realtors (ECAR). That number is in line with the 123 sales reported to ECAR in Oct 2009, which was a strong number compared to recent years. Total dollar volume of sales increased 22% in October, compared to September.
Since Jan 2008, median sold prices have trended down, except for the last four months, when we have seen stabilization. Accordingly, the quantity of sales has trended up during that period.
Home (detached) sales still dominate the market, though condos and lots are holding their own. Coming off the slow summer, we have seen three consecutive months of increase in home sales. We have also seen some stabilization in median sold prices of homes sold in South Walton. I continue to hear people suggest that prices have no where to go but down, but this median sold price chart doesn't show that at all for the last 12 months. It shows mostly level sales prices. Surely there must be a crystal ball that can let us know for sure, right? (I may stick with my real data charts.) Interest rates remain low, and there is some good inventory from which buyers can choose their home. Prices are down substantially from the market's peak, and the number of sales is increasing. All of these are indicators of where the market may venture.
October 2010 Home sales in South Walton ranked as the third best October since ECAR has been keeping stats, dating back to 1993.
In the short term, it seems that inventory steadily decreases, selling prices show stability, and number of sales is trending up. From my personal experience, the existing inventory is well picked over, and the good deals go quickly while the not so good deals remain unsold for long periods of time. Some sellers are getting realistic with their selling prices because they want to do more than list their property. They want to SELL their property. The trick is to know your competition and price in line with that which buyers are willing to pay. People are looking and buying homes while many people sit back and refuse to see the movement in the real estate market. Look closely again at that first chart and see how 2010 compares to the 2006-2007 boom market when it comes to quantity of sales.