Is the Real Estate Market Improving?

2010 is history and you may be wondering if the real estate market will improve in 2011. If asked, most commercial and residential brokers will tell you their “gut” feeling is the market will show a slight improvement in 2011 over 2010. So, is their gut feeling going to be right or wrong?

To fully understand the market, there are several economic indicators you should study. However, one simple, but effective method I like to use is analyzing the housing trends. I typically go back 5 years to get a good feel of where the market has been and where it looks like it is going. Below are some key stats for Single Family Homes in Greenville County, SC starting in 2005 and ending in 2010 (all stats provided by the Multiple Listing Service of the Greater Greenville Association of Realtors).

2005          2006          2007          2008          2009          2010

Total Listed             14,496        16,016       17,606       16,435       14,226       14,592

Number Sold            8,682          9,511         9,240         7,426         6,285         6,028

Pct Sold                  59.89%      59.38%      52.48%      45.18%      44.18%     41.31%

Avg. List Price         $180,389   $187,467    $194,778    $193,527   $175,120  $183,276

Avg. Sale Price        $175,497   $182,435    $188,967    $186,313   $167,326  $174,080

Sale $/List $ Ratio   97.29%      97.32%       97.02%      96.27%      95.55%     94.98%

Avg. DOM               95               83                83              89              100           99

Pct. Expired             20.14%       15.87%      16.70%       20.78%      27.34%     26.76%

These statistics clearly show the bursting of the housing bubble in 2007, but they also show the green shoots of recovery that began in 2009.  It is too early to draw any definite conclusions, but the signs are positive.  The one area for concern is the “number of homes sold”.  You can see that the number has consistently fallen since 2007.  That trend slowed in 2010 and should reverse in 2011, but I will be keeping an eye on it.  The main factors that will affect recovery will be mortgage rates, employment, and affordability of homes.  As long as mortgage rates stay low, unemployment shrinks, and home prices remain affordable the recovery has a decent chance of continuing.

Disclaimer – The conclusions drawn in this article are the opinions of the author and should not be viewed as a complete or accurate prediction of the real estate market.

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