Interest Rate Roundup

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Here's the skinny on February home sales and inventories in my neck of the woods

A local real estate firm, Illustrated Properties, posts local sales, inventory, and pricing data for northern Palm Beach County, FL a few days before the Florida Association of Realtors. These "unofficial" figures never line up exactly with the "official" ones. But they can provide an early heads up on current trends.

So how did things look in February?

* Sales plunged 43.6% year-over-year to 623 from 1,105.

* Median prices were unchanged -- $285,000 last month vs. $285,000 a year earlier

* The real story is on the supply front. I've been saying for a few months that the winter decline in inventory was seasonal, NOT the start of a new trend. I've also been on the lookout for the "March of the Re-Listers" -- people who pulled their homes from the market for the holiday season giving it another try in early 2007.

That appears to be exactly what's happening. For-sale inventory climbed yet again to 23,713 in February. That's up 34.4% YOY, and equal to a whopping 38 months of supply at the current sales pace. On an absolute basis, the February count appears to be a fresh cycle high (the previous peak was 23,695 in 9/06).

Let's be realistic: Given the very large supply glut evident in these figures, we're going to see a lot of disappointed sellers this spring. You are simply not going to see a lasting rebound in home prices until home inventories are whittled down -- and there are currently more than three years' worth on the market. Plan accordingly.

Here are the complete stats if you’re interested.


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