Local Housing Stats Up: Monthly, Quarterly and Year to Date

Signs of a sellers’ market continue as distressed properties decline as a percentage of all sales.

Palm Coast, FL – October 26, 2012 – Signs of a sellers’ market continue as distressed properties decline as a percentage of all Palm Coast and Flagler County sales. September home sales were up only 5% over last September, but the total value of those sales was up 27.9% over the same period. The median selling price rose 22.9%. The increase indicates a slight rise in home values as well as a change in the selling mix. Distressed properties (short sales and lender-owned sales) represented only 38.5% of single-family home sales, a significant drop from the 50% level that has prevailed for two years.
Single-family home sales during the third quarter rose from 456 to 509 (11.6%) from one year ago. Total sales rose 17.4%. It was the best third quarter total sales number since 2007. Home sales led total sales during the decline and also lead in the recovery. Hint: The number of homes sold is the measure most sensitive to changing trends.

Most significant is the decline in distressed sales. Sales and prices are up. Agents and brokers are telling me about bidding wars. The local market has entered its slow period, but the positive momentum persists. I expect the momentum to accelerate during the spring selling season.
Another sign that the market is headed into positive territory is lot sales; they’re up. Most lot buyers are not long term investors. They are either builders or individuals with plans to begin construction soon.
Building permits are also up over a year ago. It seems that the dam burst once the impact fee discussion was over at the County and School District. Seventeen single-family home permits have been issued this month through the 23rd. Only 8 were issued in the entire month of October last year.
Year to date – every measure is positive or neutral
The total number of single-family homes sold (MLS) through the first three quarters of 2012 (1,550) is up 25.5% from the same period last year.
The median selling price is exactly the same: $120,000
Days on Market (the time between the listing date and the contract being posted as "pending") has dropped from 132 days to 61.5 days.
In 2011, short sales represented 28.9% of all single-family home sales. In 2012, the percentage had dropped to 22.8%.
In 2011, lender-owned sale represented 23.7% of all single-family home sales. In 2012, the percentage had held about even at 24.4%.
 In 2011, cash sales represented 53.4% of all single-family home sales. In 2012, the percentage has held steady at 52.6%.
Buyers seem to have become weary of short sales. They take a long time and the result of an executed contract is uncertain because the bank’s decision cannot be predicted. As buyers see potential properties being snatched up quickly, they are less likely to wait months for a short sale approval, preferring to purchase a lender-owned home or one with no special conditions.
And there’s more good news. In spite of what you read in the media about foreclosures, they are trending down locally. Foreclosure filings peaked during 2008 and 2009 then fell sharply when the robo-signing scandal caused lenders to withdraw filings until they could create more convincing documentation. Around the second quarter of 2011, filings began to pick up again but a significant percentage of the recent filings are actually re-filings of earlier foreclosures.
The number of properties sold through foreclosure auctions is on the increase. The rise in foreclosure sales does not indicate a worsening situation. It takes most foreclosures two or three years to work their way through the process. Current foreclosure sales are the result of filings during the peak, a few years ago.  Since lender-owned homes have a median "Days on Market" of only 38 days, the increase in lender-owned homes resulting from foreclosure sales is not likely to affect the overall inventory level. It will, however, continue to moderate rising prices. If it were not for the effect of lender-owned sale prices, overly restrictive loan underwriting standards and appraisals that are too cautious, we would be experiencing healthy price increases.
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