It’s crunch time. There are about 10 weeks before Easter and the beginning of the end to our busy tourist season. If you are a Southwest Florida homeowner whose goal is to sell your real estate by the end of “season,” it’s time to reevaluate the market and organize a fresh plan to sell.
The truth of the real estate market is in the numbers. It’s only a matter of a few minutes of research to get down to the facts and figure out what’s going on in your community or on your street, for that matter.
So here’s where we’re at the first week of February 2011. In spite of what folks read in CNN Money about how we’re all doomed, the reality of our real estate market is that after researching a decade of closed sales occurring in the month of January, we closed about 43 percent more real estate in January 2011 than January 2007. For point of reference, January 2007 was the lowest point which followed the high in January 2005.
Our market, while the prices are down, has been quietly experiencing a remarkable number of units sold each month for quite some time.
If you’re trying to find out where your real estate falls in the scheme of what is really selling, here are a few of the latest stats. About 78 percent of the closed sales in January 2011 were priced $400,000 and under. The closed sales stats have been hovering around the 80 percent number for months so it’s no big shock to find out that the Southwest Florida market is moving under $400,000.
There are some really important questions you need to ask about your market if your home is not selling regardless of which side of that 78 percentile your real estate is located.
First, what are the three most recent closed sales comparables? If your home has been on the market for months your original comparables are now stale and the market has changed around you. A lot has happened in the last few months so you need to keep pace with the latest sales. Those comps should be as fresh as possible; no more than three months if possible.
Second, what is the absorption rate for your neighborhood or like kind properties in your area? Finding out how much standing inventory you’re competing against is crucial, especially if you’re trying to sell within a specific timeframe.
It’s not what’s listed that matters as much as what is selling.
Recently, a golf course community manager boasted that only 6 percent of the properties in their community were listed. While it sounded like everything was hearts and flowers I still calculated the absorption rate for the community.
The reality of their market was 14 months of inventory and potentially 14 months of homeowner association dues, taxes, mortgage payments, utilities and upkeep expenses to any homeowner who could be misled into thinking that listing inventory at “only 6 percent” of the total front doors in a neighborhood was good news.
That’s why fresh sales statistics, not listing statistics, are important.
Now go get a fresh set of market statistics for your neighborhood so you can make the most of marketing and selling your real estate before the Easter bunny gets here.
If you’re interested in seeing the pretty graphs of January stats, you can find them at http://budurl.com/SWFLMarket or call me to request a copy via snail mail if you’re not a fan of the Internet.
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Chris Griffith is a real estate agent at Downing-Frye Realty Inc. in Bonita Springs. If you have a question about local real estate or Bonita Springs, e-mail her at chris@LifeInBonitaSprings.com.