The numbers are in for July from our local multiple listing service and they look great. Looking back first at last year, July 2012 was healthy but not stellar. Inventory was starting to tighten up and demand was strong enough in certain segments to generate multiple offers. 499 transactions were closed in July 2012 for Clark County against this year's total of 696. We are still well off the frenzied pace of 2005-2007 but clearly the best we've seen since "the crash".
Evaluating numbers is never as easy as just looking at the one or two "big" stats. Often people, including some Realtors®, look at median price or total unit sales as an indicator that all market segments are moving equally. Just because the median price is up 21% by no means suggests that any random house that was sold last year is now worth 21% more this year. The real estate market is very complex with neighborhood fluctuations, locations, home size, price range, and styles often performing independent of each other based on market demand or supply.
The chart below shows the "big" over all county stats for this local market and then breaks the numbers down a little further to show some broad segment trends. The big question for John and Sally homeowner is often geared towards, "can I sell MY house right now"? If John and Sally own a condo they may not be much better off this year than they were last year in market appreciation. The condo market is almost always late to recover.
Last year the sales figures were heaviest in the entry level market. Those $125-150k three bedroom ramblers were being snatched up and as such, supply tightened up and prices soared. This year that market segment was priced high enough that demand slowed down a little, but the middle market surged with larger four bedroom houses seeing significant increases in unit sales. Those bigger mid sized homes saw a massive 59% increase in sales but a more modest 13% increase in median price.
Last year I said that the bottom has to tighten up first before the middle can take off. Well, the bottom did tighten up and now the middle is taking off this year. That is driving the increase in median price. The smaller two bedroom houses have peaked with only a 1.3% increase in median price despite a large surge in unit sales of 46%. Even the bread and butter three bedroom market that was red hot last year, is showing preliminary indications that the buyers are nearing their limits. The 18% increase in median against a large surge of 29% in units sold is still quite robust, however. The sellers in the entry level often move up to that bigger house and as they sell their 2 and 3 bedroom homes they move into the middle market. The 59% increase in unit sales in that segment will likely produce more impressive median increases when we check the numbers in a few months.
Of course this discussion has to hinge on keeping other complex variables favorable, such as the general economy, jobs and the ever critical mortgage rates.
The big takeaway for homeowners is the fact that their home that may have been upside down or too tight to sell, could in fact be a seller today. Contact your favorite Realtor® for a Comparative Market Analysis on your home. Most offer this service for no charge, I certainly will.