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March 2008 Analysis

March 2008 Analysis

Pent Up Demand Causes Multiple Offers Again

Hey, wait a minute. Aren’t we in a slow market? What’s this about multiple offers?

You are reading the headline correctly. Multiple offers are back in the marketplace and they aren’t just on foreclosed properties and short sales. Well-priced homes are seeing more than one offer coming in. Further, this is not an isolated incident. Brokers from all over the county are reporting one, two, and even more offers for homes that have moved into the sweet spot of prices buyers are willing and able to purchase.

It seems rather bizarre that we have the market continuing to lag even last year’s sales, yet when the right property and the right price come together, there is plenty of activity.

The number of listings on the market continues to plummet for single family homes. At the end of March, they were down over 21% from 2007. In the sales area, the number of sales continues to slowly rise as it has over the past five months. Still, in comparison to 2007, until sales are down 30% and year over year, the median price dropped by 10% and now closely parallels median prices in 2003. Nineteen and one-half percent of the homes sold were in the $140,000 to $180,000 range and another nineteen percent were in the $200,000 to $300,000 range. Average days on the market held steady at 103, and there has been a definite increase in FHA loans.

In the condo market, there are fewer listings on the market than last month, but year over year there is an increase of 8%. In sales, we saw the first decline in unit sales for this year with sales down 8.7%. The median price year over year is down 8.6%, but in this case it is tracking with the first part of 2005. 21% of the sales were in the $100,000 to $140,000 range with another 22% in the $200,000 to $300,000 range. Average days on market seem to be settling down at about 126 to 128 days.

One last thing to mention: the number of vacant homes listings appears to be dropping. Single family vacant properties are down 6% and condos are down 11%. Investors and vacation homeowners may have decided to rent and wait a while, or worse – foreclosure may have occurred.

Looking ahead there is an increase in pending sales reported for March and that may be the tip of the iceberg. Many sales are related to short sales and foreclosures and waiting for bank approval is taking a long time which pushes closings out even farther than the typical 60 days from contract to closing.

I’m glad to hear members reporting that they are busy, writing contracts, and, yes, even having to deal with multiple offers on well-priced homes. It will take a while to have a healthy market, but it is good to hear about positive trends.

-Ann Guiberson, CEO of Pinellas Realtor Organization