My prediction at the end of 2011 was that we would see a slight increase in home sales in 2012. I was wrong in a good way.
Sales increased by 28% from 2011 to 2012. My belief is that the lack of sales since 2009 meant that buyers were sitting on the sidelines, and this was the year they got off the bench. They may have been waiting for job stability or assurances that the prices had bottomed out, but whatever it was, they came out in January and never slowed down.
Home sales were the strongest they have been since 2007, when the market started slowing down here. We are a long way from 2005, when 6500 homes were sold.
My prediction for 2013 is for another solid increase in home sales in 2013, but I don't think it will be above 20%.
My prediction for home prices in 2012 was that they would fall some more but start to show signs of levelling. This prediction was accurate. While the average price per square foot of a sold home fell from $125 to $122, the last few months of 2012 started showing steady improvement. The price per square foot hit rock bottom at $110 in January of 2012, but the last two months of the year, the average was $128.
The average sale price of a home was virtually the same from last year, coming in at around $244,000. The average sale price had dropped 7% from 2010 to 2011.
Total sales volume for the year was $837,221,226 vs. 664,427,378 for 2011, a 26% increase.
I believe that prices have bottomed out and are starting to move up, but not by any huge amount. Low inventory and fewer foreclosures hitting the market are starting to push prices up. If I had to put a number on it I'd say it will go up 3 - 5% in 2013.
Days on the Market
The average number of days to sell in 2012 actually fell by 7% to 146. Still a long time to sell a house, but the market is definitely improving for sellers.
My prediction for inventory in 2012 was that it would get close to 2000 but not drop below it. The year started at 2119 single family homes for sale in New Hanover County, and it began to rise like it does every Spring, but then then it peaked in April at 2221 and then started falling. And falling, and falling. The steady decline dropped below 2000 in October and ended up at 1813 in December. I just checked inventory today (1/7/13) and laughed out loud. The current number is 1707, which is close to 20% lower than where we began the year in 2012.
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, below 2000 in October 2012.
Inventory is down because new construction is still slow, and while there are a lot of people who would like to sell their home, they aren't willing to sell for what the market is willing to pay.
My projections is that inventory has bottomed out and as prices begin to edge up, the shadow inventory will being to creep back on the market.
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 2012
Click on the links at left to navigate the 2012 Year in Review