Interest Rate Roundup

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Early peek at Nov. sales in my neck of the woods

I live and work in South Florida, which has the dubious distinction of being one of the most overvalued real estate markets in the country. Rampant speculation. Extreme levels of mortgage fraud. Rising foreclosures. Home prices that are way out of whack with local incomes. We've got it all!

So what about sales? Inventories? Prices? Where do they stand? The official figures from the Florida Association of Realtors come out around the same time each month as the national data. That's due December 28. But one local brokerage posts "unofficial" sales data ahead of time here in Palm Beach County. To summarize, in November, here's the year-over-year change for ...

Sales: -60.4%
Inventory: +95.7%
Median price: -7.9% ($25,000)
Average days on market: +51%

That's a pretty nasty batch of numbers, all things considered. We've seen a pickup in mortgage applications for purchase loans in late November and early December. So the sales figures might pick up in December (remember that existing home sales are based on closings, not contract signings. That means sales for Nov. reflect weak contract activity in Oct. IF contract signings pick up with purchase apps, Dec. sales would therefore reflect stronger apps in Nov.)

Even if that's the case however, the supply overhang we're dealing with down here is humongous. Exhibit A: Based on November's sales rate (529 units), and November's inventory count (22,171) we have roughly 42 months of supply hanging over our heads. That ... to put it mildly ... ain't so good.


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