August of 2012 will be remembered for the completion of the first two thirds of a year which has been the first upward year in sales totals since the boom. According to the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service statistics for single family home closings in August, we saw the highest sales volume since 2007.
Here are the breakdowns for numbers:
August 2012 had 575 single family home closings at a median price of $650,000;
August 2011 had 512 single family home closings at a median price of $724,000;
Year to date through August 2012 had 3,053 single family home closings at a median price of $610,000;
Year to date through August 2011 had 2,663 single family home closings at a median price of $635,000;
The decline in median price is almost meaningless, as the average home sold in 2012 was smaller than the average home sold the year prior. This tells me that the buyers are trending toward smaller homes, more often first time home buyers entering the market again, which is having a clear ripple effect across the board.
We are seeing a 15% increase in sales volume year to date and a 12% increase in August over the prior August.
More positive news:
987 homes are under contract or pending sale. Last year at the same time only 732 homes were under contract.
The median price of $549,000 is indicative of the smaller home trend, with the average square footage at 2100 square feet compared to over 2400 year to date.
3518 single family homes are for sale, which is actually a lower number for the same period from years past. More sales and less inventory pushes leverage in the direction of sellers. It remains a buyer’s market until prices rise again, but it is no longer the severe unbalanced buyer’s market from years ago. Well appointed, aggressively priced homes will sell faster and for more money than they did in the past in these conditions.
Bank owned foreclosures are down, and lenders are lending again, albeit more sensibly.
What can I say? I have been bearish all year, refusing to be a Pollyanna about the market. But you can’t argue with the facts on the ground- this market is getting healthier.