This past December finished up as one of the strongest for real estate home sales in recent years with 194 residential house sale closings. This was about 15% higher than the December 2013 and the highest number of closings in a December going back to 2009. For the year, the area saw about a 2% gain in the number of residential home sales coming in at 2,169 for 2014 compared to 2,124 for 2013.
Median home sales price also showed positive gains coming in at about $155,000 for 2014 compared to $145,000 for 2013. A large part of the steady increases in median home sale prices has been the decline in the contribution of distressed sales for the area. For example ‘Short Sales’, which once were about 35% of all sales in recent years, were only about 6% in 2014 at around 118. REO & Government Owned came in higher with 539 closings which was about 25% of all closings. Some may think the REO & Government Owned number as being concerning, but taking into account that the amount of inventory remains very low (presently at only 68 for sale) and these properties tend to move very quickly (average days on the market for 2014 was only 38 days).
Inventory continues to remain low for the area. In recent years past, the number of homes for sale at any given point was typically around 2,000 for the area. That number has declined to be just average under 1,000 over the last couple years. We presently have 901 residential houses for sale in the area. The obvious increase in demand for the area is shown in the very positive decline in the average days on the market. The average number of days for 2014 was 87 and was averaging around double that figure in recent years mostly driven by ‘short sales’ which typically have much longer periods on the market due to the lengthy closing process associated with them.
So what should sellers expect in 2015? The truth is that it is a great time to sell, but it does not mean sellers do not have the upper-hand always. There is still a lot of competition especially with the option to build. There are plenty of places left to build in the area and builders have been very competitive compared to existing homes and features. The two aspects of building versus existing that often give existing homes an advantage is 1) the length of time to close, and 2) the amount of money needed upfront for new builds.
The bottom line to successful selling is to, front and foremost, price the property right the first time. That means basing the property sales price on recent comparable sales. Price is often the most difficult area for sellers because they often times get emotional and give in to what they “think buyers” will or will not do. One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to price is the idea of starting too high “just to see”. I can never stress enough how risky over pricing is and how costly it can really be to a seller. You first risk the property being on the market far longer than necessary which reduces negotiating power and often times results in tens of thousands less than what the seller could have gotten for the property if priced right initially. The second issue is with appraisals. Using comparable sales is meant to take into account a similar type of process that a licensed appraiser will use and therefore being within a lender appraiser valuation if a buyer comes with financing. In the case of over-pricing a property for sale, even if an offer with financing comes in near the listing price if it doesn’t appraise at or above that negotiated price then the property will not be able to close at that price.
In 2015, based up the trending data, sellers who want to sell within the average of 90 days will need to:
- Price the property right the first time. Click here to get a FREE valuation for your home.
- Be ready to sell. This means having the home presentable, repairs addressed, and have a moving plan prior to putting the property on the market.
So what should buyers expect in 2015? With interest rates and prices in great places, it is a great time to buy. The biggest hurdle I often find for buyers is the misconception that every seller is desperate. Again, we are seeing houses sell with 90 days on average and inventory remains low. Not being open to making reasonable offers based upon the data can lead to a missed opportunity on the property you really wanted. The worst thing any buyer can do when their offer is rejected is to think they will come back to the property in a few weeks or months. The truth in our area is that the property often times is not available any longer in just few days.
In 2015, buyers who want to get the best possible property will want to:
- Know exactly how much you can afford and have your financing plans together prior to searching for properties.
- Know the features you must have in the property and prioritize them. Getting the best possible property may take some give-and-take and therefore knowing what you can and can not do with out prior to shopping will give you a far better selection.
- Get set up with property alerts that meet your specific criteria and be ready to take a look if the property interests you. Click here to set up a FREE Home Search Manager account today.
- Make reasonable offers based upon the data. Looking at comparable sales to gauge whether the listing price is reasonable is the best starting point and then take others factors into account such as needed repairs, updates, etc.
2015 is poised to be another positive year for the area and it is truly exciting to see all of the great things that have been happening with real estate in the area. Make sure to contact me if you have any questions, and click here for a full breakdown of the market statistics for the area.
* Disclaimer: Information based upon the Flagler County Association of Realtors MLS for Residential Houses as of 1/3/2015. Information may be deemed reliable, but is not guaranteed