Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Existing Home Sales Have Biggest Monthly Drop in 40 Years

2008 was a terrible year in housing here.  In the Cville Area, sales were the slowest in a decade.  But 2009 ended with even lower sales than 2008--8% lower overall when all areas sales were combined (and while Albemarle sales ended 5% up over 2008, most other areas were negative, in the double digits).

Here, as nationwide, however, there was a flurry of activity in the second half of the year as buyers rushed to qualify for the $8K tax cred that was scheduled to expire Nov. 30.  Thus sales in the second half of the year had stronger results than would otherwise have been expected, given season, pricing, and the ongoing Recession. 

The First Time Homebuyer frenzy drew to a halt nationally when the $8K tax credit was extended to April 30, 2010.  "Existing Homes" = condos, townhouses, detached.

From The AP, via NPR:
  • December's sales fell 16.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.45 million
  • First-timers accounted for about 43% of December's sales
  • The inventory of unsold homes on the market fell about 7 percent to 3.3 million. That's a 7.2 month supply at the current sales pace, close to a healthy level of about 6 months.
*And what happened with buyers in the Cville Area, from November to December?  Here are  single family homes (not adding in condos, which are down 30+% '09 over '08):
  • Charlottesville dropped 60% (22 in Nov, 9 in Dec)
  • Albemarle increased 12% (50 in Nov, 63 Dec)
  • Fluvanna dropped 45% (27 in Nov, 15 Dec)
  • Greene unchanged (15/16)
  • Louisa unchanged (13/14)
(Link to Cville/Alb graphs here.)

*In all of 2009, "homes" under $300K, considered the realm of First-Timers, accounted for nearly 70% of total sales.

*The current inventory (including existing and new) stands at more than 16 months, and grows weekly, if not daily.  More than 450 MLS listings expired on January 1, 2010.  Market watching shows that most of these properties will show up again this Spring...in addition to sellers who have been trying to "wait out the market" in listing their properties.

Graphs of Sales, Pricing, Appreciation for Charlottesville MSA 
Existing Home Sales Charts from CalculatedRISK
Existing Home Sales Worse Than Expected - The Big Picture

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