We saw a fantastic and exciting year for real estate in Flagler County and Palm Coast to say the least. There were several highlights to the year:
- The number of houses for sale decreased dramatically with 867 currently for sale. This number has typically been up around 2,000 at any given point in time over the last few years.
- The number of houses sold was 23% above last year with 2013 sold. We have been seeing year over year increases in the area as well since 2009.
- The number of short sale houses for sale have dropped dramatically contributing to about 10% of all houses for currently for sale. Over the last few years this has typically been around 35%. This is a great sign that “the bleeding is stopping”.
- Cash sales are dominating the local market at 54% of all house transactions this past year with about 1,092 transactions. Conventional mortgage financing was second at 30% of house transactions.
So what should we expect in 2013?
Based upon the steady consistent growth we have seen over the last few years, 2013 is poised to be another year of growth. Last year saw an unusually active January in the area and it is uncertain if we can surpass this past year’s activity for that month. But we do anticipate another year of increases overall.
What will continue to drive activity in the area is great prices that have been stabilizing and also beginning to creep up. Fantastic interest rates are also making this a great time to buy for those financing. But this great combination of increased demand and decreased inventory does not mean that sellers can be aggressive with price. The best strategy always when selling is to price right the first time. Sellers also need to be prepared to sell with great presentation and attention to detail in key areas of the home such as the kitchen, the master bedroom, the master bathroom, landscaping, and any repairs. Buyers are not wasting time as many have found out that great buys are not lasting long and the competition can be fierce. Dismissing pricing and staging advice can be very costly later.
Buyers also have to aware of the current conditions and have an open mind. Sellers know there is less competition and higher demand. So too aggressive of offers “just to see” can cost a buyer the house they wanted as a better offer came in and beat them out. Hav a plan which includes how much you really can afford, prioritized list of needs/wants, and a list of around 5 homes to choose from. We often advise having a couple of homes in mind (2 to 3) when making an offer. This way, if one doesn’t work out in negotiations you have a back up. Building a new home is also an option and we can help you with this option in the area as well.
One of the pieces of legislation that had many on edge over the last week was the expiration of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act which was set to expire as of 12/31/2012. Thankfully Congress acted to extend this through 2013. This legislation allows for the difference owed in short sale situations not to be treated as taxable income for owners. A lack of action in extending this could have wreaked havoc on the market especially for any pending short sale that closed after December 31st.
Overall, 2013 stands to be another interesting year and we are optimistic we will see another positive year for real estate in the area.