Monday, August 31, 2009

12.5 Months of Inventory for Sale on Athens, GA Housing Market

Well the end of the month of August brings us a new 12-month rolling time period to play with and discuss. Anytime I can 'over' analyze figures with a cup of coffee (or three or four) nearby I am in heaven.

The good is that the average sales price in Athens inched up over the previous period (12-mo's ending Aug 1, 2009) by a few hundred dollars. The average sales price in Athens is at $163,587 as compared to 12-months ending June 2008 at $168,257. This continues to back up the fact that on the average the Athens market has not lost as much ground as the mythic "national real estate market" over the past 18 months. Median sales figures from 12-months ending June 2008 show a median price of $142,400 at that reading of the numbers as compared to $139,900 today. Again, this shows only a slight fall off of home prices. I grant you the fact that at higher price points the fall off in prices can be higher, but if you look at the average to median price range in Athens it has stood up rather well.

What continues to amaze me is that when looking at sales figures of homes sold in Athens this year the average list/sold percentage is about 95 percent. This means that there is very little price roll off of list price. On price points north of $300,000 you might see this number in the 91-93 percent range.

What has continued to surprise me is that the number of sales has continued to fall off unabashed over the past year. The numbers of homes sold is off roughly 28 percent this year and 44 percent from the peak of 1382 homes sold in the 12-months ending June 2008.

All in all however, just looking at single family detached residential housing in Athens on the market for sale, with 774 homes sold in the most recent year through end of August we are looking at 12.5 months of inventory on the market for sale. We need about half that much to be in a balanced market between buyers and sellers. Note recent Online Athens article and the comments toward the end by that well spoken local young real estate broker!

*Note* 'I found the reader's comments to this article on Online Athens interesting. He is obviously either burned by the market or biased in some way. Maybe he is blinded by the national media that tells him things are bad so they must be locally too. I always preach that real estate is 'local' not national.

The numbers are what they are fortunately or not. Overall we have been less affected by foreclosures than the national average and other nearby markets. At higher price ranges the sales are even slower, and the reader to the piece in Online Athens points out all the slow sales and properties that have been on the market for awhile, but this does not mean that one can assume higher foreclosure levels and falling prices than exist in reality.'

How do you compute inventory absorption rates? You can't really. There is no way to know how fast this inventory will be depleted. In the meantime, the best one can do is to be patient if you need to sell your home and it is over $200,000 in price. If you are under $200,000 in price, I have seen this price range of the market as hot as it has been in 3+ years as of late. Almost all my listings between $120,000-$200,000 are either under contract or sold just in the last two months! If you are a buyer, the market is yours!

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