Saturday, May 31, 2008

May Month End Stats – Market Continues Improving

The May month-end numbers look positive again, for about the fourth or fifth month in a row. We keep moving incrementally in the right direction. This seems to be the classic tale of the tape of a recovering market. "Percent Sold" increases monthly while the "Months of Inventory" number shrinks. Sales volume is back up to a respectable and normal 5,000 a month.

The number I find most compelling is overall "Months of Inventory," a.k.a. "Absorption Rate". This number means that if no more houses were listed for sale and we continued at current sales pace, it would take 9.99 months to sell every home on the market. In 7 months, we've whacked inventory in half. Very good progress. Most experts agree that 6 months of inventory is 'normal'.

That's not to say we're back to the heady heyday of summer 2005. Downward pricing pressure continues, especially in neighborhoods with a large number of short sales and foreclosures.

But see also my colleague and friend Jonathan Dalton who says that bank owned properties are flying off the shelves. Jonathan has numbers to back that up.

I don't have numberes, but I've got anecdotes. I was actually presented wth a Multiple Counteroffer form last week on behalf of a buyer looking for a bank owned property. By the by, we lost out on 2 different bank owned properties because we weren't fast enough. Home number 1 wasn't even officially for sale yet! I spent 2 full days calling the bank's HQ in Philadelphia and finally found the local listing agent. She told me the bank hadn't set a price yet and weren't even looking at offers. Seven days later I called back only to find it was sold. Apparently several buyers sent offers directly to the bank HQ in Philadelphia because they wanted the home so badly. Mind you this home needed 2 40-yard dumpsters of junk removed and toilets installed before it was even inhabitable as a flop house. My investory buyer estimated he'd spent $30,000 in rehab, bare minimum.

You can also see my friend & colleague John Wake who create awesome statistical charts - he says sales are picking up steam in outlying areas like Anthem and Queen Creek.

As always, this is data from the MLS and includes homes, condos, patio homes, townhouses and even mobile homes and land. It also includes bank owned homes, foreclosures, pre-foreclosures and short sales. It does not include properties not sold through the MLS (for sale by owner, private sales, the example above where bank sold to investor before house hit the MLS). Why only include MLS data? It's the data I can access most easily and MLS sales represent the bulk of property transfers in the Valley.