Greetings AND Welcome to the 2011 Year in Review;
Real estate survived another teeth grinding year in 2011, but there are many solid signs that the market is improving. If the economy continues to rebound and buyer confidence climbs, then 2012 could be the year people talk about as the year that turned it around.
Sales in 2011 were nearly exactly as 2010 in New Hanover County, but prices fell around 7%. Distressed sales continue to influence the market, representing around 30% of all sales in 2011. The price per square foot on foreclosed properties in 2011 was $96, which is well below the overall average of $130.
In addition to numbers charts and forecasts, I've also got a fun look at the extremes for 2011, featuring everything from the top 10 highest priced sales to the biggest and smallest house that sold last year.
The number of home sales in New Hanover county held steady in 2011. In fact, they were almost exactly the same. As of 1/9/12, the total sales were 2688, down just three homes from 2010. Chances are there will be some home sales that aren't posted yet and 2011 will be slightly better than 2010.
When you consider that the first several months of 2010 was buoyed by the tax credit, just staying even was a pretty strong showing. Anyone who was remotely thinking of buying a first home probably did it in early 2010 to get that $8000 tax credit, so expectations were that sales would be slow for a while.
Early in the year it seemed like it would be down this year, but starting in July sales started heating up, and that trend seems to be continuing.
Still, we are a long way from 2007, when nearly 4000 homes were sold, or 2005, when 6500 homes were sold.
My projections are for another slight increase in home sales in 2012.
The average price of homes continued to be bludgeoned with a sledgehammer. After showing signs of leveling off through the first half of the year, the latter half saw a sharper drop. For the year, the average price of a sold home was $244,511, down around 7% from last year. The average price per square feet was also down 7%, to $125, though the last three months of the year that number was down below $120 per sq ft.
Total sales volume for the year was $661,513,544, down 6% from last year, and nearly identical to 2009.
My projections are that prices will continue to level, but I've been saying that for two years and it keeps falling. My impression is that a lot of people are taking their homes off the market because they are not willing to sell for what the market is willing to pay. But there continue to be people who have to sell, and combined with bank owned properties and short sales, the prices may slide still further.
Days on the Market
The average number of days to sell in 2011 was 160, up 16% from last year. If you have plans to sell, have plans to be patient.
I continue to be amazed at how far inventory is dropping. I started tracking inventory numbers back in September of 2007, when it was over 3700. Since then, it has been on a gradual decline. It dropped below 3000 for the first time in January 2011 and never got back above 3000. Inventory always goes down in the winter, but in January 2012 it was down to 2119. That's down 24% from January 2011.
The biggest drops in inventory show up in 28401, down 35% and 28412, down 30%. Kure Beach was the only zip code with an increased inventory, but in the past year the average number of homes for sale there were only around 80.
In terms of price, every price category is down. The smallest drops were in the 500-599 price range (-12%) and the $1.5 - 1.99 million range (13%)
Inventory is down because people have given up selling and there are very few new homes being built.
My projections is that inventory will not drop below 2000 and will begin to recover in the spring. It may not rise above 3000 in 2012, but it has bottomed out and will begin to move up.
Random numbers of a somewhat intriguing nature:
The biggest, the smallest, the priciest, the cheapest, the oldest, and much more,
go here to find the extremes of what sold in NH County in 2010
Click on the links at left to navigate the 2010 Year in Review
I also put the numbers up for December, see those here