January 2010 Sales Up Compared to Year Ago
February 8, 2010 by Murray Balkcom
Wow! It seems like the first month of 2010 blew past rapidly, but the warm weather of Spring cannot get here soon enough. Before you know it, May will be here and many of you will be able to board a SouthWest Airlines jet and fly directly to the beach. I’m not sure whether or not that will spark sales, but it should add a few extra trips to the beach each year for many South Walton beach lovers.
January falls in the heart of winter. Our nation’s capital was recently blanketed with signs of winter, and here at the beach, I had to find some socks to wear with my sandals — ah, winter isn’t too bad, if you live in paradise.
Winter keeps many people away from the beach and typically, that means slower sales for real estate in South Walton. So when I inform you that sales slipped from those unusually high levels in the month of December, you shouldn’t be too surprised. However, we are seeing a little twist — Though sales (both quantity and dollar volume) decreased compared to December, pending sales for Homes, Condos, & Town Homes (combined) increased 24% compared to December.
Also, to see longer term trend comparisons, these three charts compare the most recent twelve months to the the previous twelve months (eg- compare Jan 2010 to Jan 2009). Looking at January 2010, the number of pending sales (146 sales) increased 66% compared to January 2009. (see chart above) Perhaps the reason for some of the reduction in homes, condos, and town homes sold, is due to contracts taking longer to close, thus staying in the pending category for a longer period.
Looking at the chart above, we see that combined number of home, condo and town home sales in South Walton reported to the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors (blue line) is down from December, but it increased 59% compared to Jan 2009.
When we look at combined total dollar volume of sold homes, condos, and town homes for the most recent 12 months (through Jan 2010), we see a change, starting back in Aug 2009, when sales began a turn around compared to the previous year’s sales. While January’s (2010) sold dollar volume reported to the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors is down from December, compared to the Jan 2009, sales (dollar volume) were up 116%. That is the largest gap comparison we’ve seen for quite some time, and is a positive indicator.
Unlike the time of the real estate boom, many buyers are paying for properties using cash. Emerald Coast Association of Realtors report that 58% of condos sold in South Walton had no financing (cash buyers). 41% of detached homes sold in South Walton were reported as cash sales, while 65% of residential lot sales in South Walton were noted as cash sales. I hear some people say that the number of cash sales is up as a percentage because lenders aren’t lending. However, that doesn’t make sense to me. Lenders are indeed lending — however, they are qualifying their borrowers, unlike the “old” days.
Seems to me that if a buyer can pay cash for a property, they should have no problem getting a loan. So, I don’t think they are paying with cash because of the inability to get a loan. Conventional loans make up 45% of the detached home sales in South Walton for January. For those of you who think it is impossible to get financing for condos, 24% of the condo sales in South Walton, were reported to be conventionally financed. If you need assistance with getting a loan, I know of several loan officers who are willing to help you obtain financing for a property — just ask.