This is the first chance we have had this month to report on the November local real estate sales which have continued the recent trend of 20%+ decreases in home sales. In November, there were just 167 closed sales, down 22.7% from last year. Looking at the year, we finished the first six months with a 23.6% increase in year to date home sales. In the five months since then sales have been down 26.9% leaving a year to date decrease of 2.7%. With a forecast of perhaps 150 closed sales in December we will end the year with a total of around 2,815 sales compared to 2,932 last year. This 2,815 will be the lowest total sales in twenty years; all the way back to 2,665 closed sales in 1991.
The average selling price continues to improve over last year and the November average of $272,099 is the highest average monthly selling price since November 2007. Much of it is in the mix with fifteen closed sales over $500,000 in November this year compared with just three sales in November last year. The median price also took a big jump to $235,000 for November 2010 compared to $204,000 in November last year. For the year, the $245,681 is a 2.7% increase over 2009 and the final average selling price for the year will probably be in the range of $246,000, a 2.8% increase over 2009 but still off 3% from the peak of $253,406 achieved in 2007.
The home sales that closed in November were on the market for an average of 136 days which is way too long. This compares to 117 days last November and the year to date of 122 is slightly longer than the 121 last year. The inventory of active listings is the lowest it has been all year and based on the sales over the last twelve months, there is just a six month supply of homes. This low inventory has obviously helped hold up the pricing. Up to last month we reported on showing activity which had been running 30% lower than the showing activity for the previous year but we have been advised that the figures are not comparable. The information we were using came from our local MLS but this only reported showings made through the IRES system. In the last year, several brokerage firms have opted to use private services to set showing appointments and these are not always entered into the MLS system. So, while the 30% drop in showing activity made sense with a corresponding 27% drop in closed sales, apparently the showing activity was not down that much but we now have no way of tracking it.
In our January columns we will review the 2010 sales year and see if we can use this information to give us some ideas of where the local real estate market is headed in 2011.
We have enjoyed another interesting year writing this column and we would like to take this opportunity to thank our readers for your comments, questions and suggestions. We also want to extend to everyone our very best wishes for a happy holiday season and a healthy and peaceful New Year.