walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

How About That Housing Market?

The Coldwell Banker website for our area includes historical sales for the last 18 months. I decided to take a look at what had sold during that time in my town. 361 sales with a median price of about $450K. A little less than 20 of those sales appear to be ineligible for the first time or repeat buyer tax credit (because the sale closed outside the date boundaries of eligibility) and a mostly non-overlapping almost 30 sales would have failed to qualify because the purchase price exceeded $800K. With a total number of households in my town of between 7K and 7.5K, just under 5% of the housing stock in my town turned over in the previous 18 months, which is on the low side:

For comparison purposes, see:


The graph towards the bottom of the post, labeled: Annual Existing Home Sales and Year End Inventory as Percent of Owner Occupied Units

I have seen some commentary suggesting that the move-up buyer is non-existent; the median price here of $450K would seem to suggest otherwise _in my town_ -- anyone buying a first home in that range probably isn't eligible for the tax credit because of income limitations. The distribution of sales in the above $800K range was a little thin, obviously, but not ridiculously different from the overall distribution (that is, they weren't all very recent and they weren't all back in November 2008, and they showed seasonality similar to the overall group).

Interestingly, March and April of 2010 didn't look as good YOY. Either I screwed up and tabulated these things wrong, or that interesting weather people speculated would impact sales .... did.

Judging by the sold/listed at/previously listed at, price capitulation occurred sometime before the end of 2009.

So what do I think? Without looking at some other town, it would be impossible to say anything about anywhere but here. But it sure _looks_ like we're seeing real activity not driven by the tax credit. I don't have any numbers, but when I was looking at recent historical sales in this town before we bought here, well, there was less happening in 2007/8 than in 2009. It looks like sellers/agents are figuring out how to price stuff so it sells pretty close to what it is listed at. There's decent quality inventory on the market currently (I looked at that, too), and buying something now comparable to what we bought a little over a year ago would cost about the same as what we paid, perhaps slightly more. Definitely not a _lot_ more.

I would expect that if I looked in more outlying areas, things would be a lot more depressing. R. tells me that prices are already climbing in Back Bay. This fits in well with our thesis that one of the primary location drivers is commute distance and pricing is reflecting that more strongly this time around than it has in the past.
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