Monday, February 06, 2006

Spring Market Kickoff

The Superbowl is over, which means the unofficial kickoff for the spring real estate market is here. Let's face it, the winter is a slow time for real estate and it's tough to discern much about market strength. That hasn't slowed down postings to the epic message board over at the Boston Globe site (Where are real estate prices heading?) - 910 posts and counting.

To celebrate the season I took in an open house yesterday. Showed up 90 minutes into a two hour open house, and was the third to sign in - it did pick up while I was there, at least a couple other people came through. It was a small cape, on a reasonable lot (0.35 acre lot), and in a nice western 'burb of Boston. Not much to distinguish the house - no recent updates (56 yr old), one bath, two small bedrooms. The price? $469K, marked down (in hand on the listing sheet) from $499K. Experiences like this reinforce my sense that the suburban market in particular seems out of whack.

Needless to say, the next few months will be interesting. Hopes and fears abound, the market will reveal its answers in due course.

One intriguing early return on 2006, courtesy of Boston Real Estate Watch:

The following information was obtained form MLS:

Boston condo market statistics

January 2005
Average List Price: $445,767.00
Average Sales Price: $430,408.00

January 2006
Average List Price: $417,936.00
Average Sales Price: $403,512.00

That's a 6% decline in YOY average sales price!

Current number of Boston area homes on the market, courtesy of ZipRealty:
Number of listings that have been reduced at least once:
That's 29% (and doesn't account for homes relisted at new prices under different MLS #).

Enough with the trash talk, let the games begin!


AsgardRagnarok said...

I have yet to see that prices are actually starting to fall by any signifigant amount. I have been on the sidelines of this thing for about 2 years now waiting for the numbers to turn in my favor. We are seeing the inventory up and the sales down, so all that is left now is the price declines. If I start to see 8-10% drops in prices I will be happy, until then I don't think talk about it being a "buyers" market are reasonable.

Pinch a Penny said...

Inventory in my neck of the woods seems stable, around the same as mid dec last year, or around 300 properties. Difference is that the properties listed, have been listed for a long time. Wife and I took a look at some condos that are still for sale. There are some conversions that are really bad, that have not sold.
Time will tell.

DT said...

I try to resist the temptation to look at listings, inventory numbers, and prices too frequently (with limited success). The stats from the last downturn in MA indicate a broad top followed by a multi-year gradual decline (I wasn't living here, so can't add any personal insight to the numbers I've seen). Will this peak be any different? It certainly has the potential, for all the reasons I've been trying to highlight on this blog, but no one can tell you the future of house prices with certainty.