Today between placing a lockbox on a property and picking my daughter up from school, I had about 75 minutes to kill and no productive way to use that time, until I realized I was driving past the Randalls at Brodie and Slaughter Ln. in Southwest Austin. This, I had heard, is the early voting location for my precinct, and I needed more oatmeal, so I pulled in to Randalls.
Overall, this was a good, cheerful day for me. Standing in the voter line threw a wet blanket on it though. 30 minutes of sharing space with grim faced, unsociable people was a real downer. This line would not be mistaken for a festive line of people waiting to be let in to a ZZ-Top concert, or the gleeful bunch of iPhone “early adopters” you may have seen on the news last summer.
Nope, these are arms folded, blank stare, don’t-talk-to-me-I’m-brooding, line standers. I guess pleasant, cordial chit chat is off the table when engaged in the solemness of one’s civic duty. Had I been blindfolded and led to this line, I might have guessed I was standing amongst people waiting to pick caskets for their dead puppies. I considered making eye contact with someone, maybe throwing one of those wry “what’s up?” smiles toward someone, but I dared not, as the pall of depressed hanging faces thus deterred me.
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I noticed something interesting when I was previewing listings yesterday in Austin Lake Estates. Several homes were priced currently at more than $20K below the original list price (which appears at the bottom of the agent listing printout). This made me start wondering about how accurate our reported sold/list price ratio is, so I decide to investigate further. My findings are below.
When I post my monthly Austin real estate market stats, one of the data points provided is the sold/list price ratio. That is, the sold price divided by the list price. This tells us, for example, that if a home listed for $200,000 sells for $190,000, that the home sold for 95% of the list price. I track this stat because it informs us of the strength of the seller’s side of the market. As sold/list price ratios trend downward, this tells us that sellers are having a harder time obtaining their asking price, and buyers are experiencing increasing negotiating power. For September 2008, the sold/list price ratio (96.22%) remained about the same as Sept 2007 (96.25%), indicating, at first glance, that sellers are obtaining about the same sold/list ratio as a year ago. Or are they ….?
Let’s look at the chart below, and notice that I’ve added an additional piece of data – Original List Price – to the mix. Note that the chart is for Sept 2007/2008 sales only.
The first word that comes to mind when looking at the 2007 chart, is “ouch”. What the standard sold/list price ratio does not tell us is how far the seller came down from the original list price. But the chart above paints a nice picture of the difference sellers experienced between 2007 and 2008. Let’s take a closer look at this.
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Below are the YTD Sept 2008 stats for Austin homes sales, broken out by MLS area as compared to 2007 sold stats.
Here is a quick summary, the full chart is below.
Number of Sales
Of the 42 MLS areas tracked, the number of sales decreased in 41. Only the UT area had more home sale YTD Sept (34 last year, 39 this year). Number of sales are down 15.6% citywide compared to the same period a year ago.
The average sales price increased in 29 of the 42 MLS areas, decreasing in 13 of the MLS areas tracked. Of the 29 areas with appreciating sales prices, 10 have appreciation higher than 5%, and 3 areas appreciated more than 10%. Of the 13 areas that depreciated, 2 have depreciation of more than 5%.
Median Sale Prices
The median sales price increased in 28 of the 42 MLS areas, decreasing in 14 of the MLS areas tracked. Of the 28 areas with appreciating median sales prices, 10 have appreciation higher than 5%, and 4 areas appreciated more than 10%. Of the 14 areas that depreciated, 3 have depreciation of more than 5% in median sales value.
Average Sold price per square foot
The average sales price per square foot increased in 25 of the 42 MLS areas, decreasing in 17 of the MLS areas tracked. Of the 25 areas with appreciating sales prices, 6 have appreciation higher than 5%, and 2 areas appreciated more than 10% in avg price per sqft. Of the 17 areas that depreciated, 3 have depreciation of more than 5% in psf value.
Days on Market
Average and Median days on market increased in most areas. Only 8 out of 42 areas have lower avg dom and only 2 out of 42 have lower median days on market. Citywide, days on market is up 16% to an average of 65 days sold, and 42 median days sold. These are actually very good numbers, but they somewhat mask the high number of failed sales attempts. At present, the average days on market of Active listings in Austin is 97 days and the median is 75 days. More than half of the active listings will fail to sell, most with higher days on market, which leaves the quicker selling homes to set the stats.
The full chart is below. A MLS map is below the chart if you’re not familiar with Austin’s MLS areas. As usual, questions and comments area welcome.
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September Austin real estate stats are below. Average and median prices are doing what they’ve been doing most of the year, which is treading water, trending down somewhat, but most notable is that the expired and withdrawns continue to rise, and for September moved past the 50% mark, meaning over half of the homes that departed the MLS in September did not sell.
Here is a summary of the numbers, followed by charts below.
Here is a quick summary of the September 2008 sales stats stats:
• Number of homes sold is down 14% (24% last month) from 1,763 Sep 2007 to 1,512 Sep 2008. (This represents a decrease in the slowing of sales)
• Average list prices in Austin were down 3.62% over the same month last year to $257,761.
• Average sold prices in Austin were down 3.65% over the same month last year to $248,026.
• Median sold price was flat at 0%, remaining at $185,000.
• Average List to Sold price about even with last year at 96.25%, down from 96.25% last year.
• Avg sold price per square foot is down 4.33% to $116 compared to $122 a year ago in Sept.
• Avg days on market is up 11 days (20%) from 56 last year to 67 this September.
• Median days on market is up 11 days (30%) from 37 days last year to 48 this year.
• Number of “Not Sold” (exp or withdrawn) is up 28% over the same month last year, to 53% of all removed listings.
So, while the numbers are trending downward, they continue to hold somewhat steady as a large amount of inventory simply goes away each month, leaving the homes that actually sell to paint a somewhat better picture of the market than the average seller experiences.
Below are the stats in chart format. The year to date stats are further below. I’m about half way through my quarterly compliation of the MLS area breakdown for YTD sales in Austin, and will post that in a separate blog post later this week.
|Austin Real Estate Sales Market Update for Sept 2008|
|Homes only (condos, duplexes, etc. not included) compiled from Austin MLS data|
|Aug 2008||Sep 2008||Sep 2007||Yr % Change|
|Avg $ SQFT||$118.66||$116.39||$121.65||-4.33%|
|Not Sold %||46.21%||52.75%||41.31%||27.69%|
Below are the Year to Date Austin sales stats through September 2008.
This came in my Realtor email newsletter today. It’s a reminder that HOA rules have to be followed, no matter the reaons for not being able to comply.
A 66-year-old grandfather in Bayonet Point, Fla., is doing jail time because he couldn’t afford to replace the sod on his lawn in his deed-restricted community after his sprinkler system failed.
The Beacon Woods Civic Association took Joseph Prudente to court earlier this year after he failed to re-sod despite several warning letters. In September, Circuit Judge W. Lowell Bray ordered Prudente to resod. When Prudente repeatedly ignored the court order, Lowell sentenced him to jail without bail until the lawn is sodded.
Prudente, who takes heart medication, says he was unable to fix the lawn after his adjustable rate mortgage rose to $600 a month, Wachovia Bank repossessed his Toyota Scion, and his daughter and her two children fell on hard times and moved in with him and his wife Pat.
The Beacon Woods association expressed regret that Prudente had landed in jail. “It’s a sad situation,” says board president Bob Ryan. “But in the end, I have to say he brought it upon himself.”
While I’m finding the market to be a little sluggish overall, I have found a way to sell my listings quicker. I’ve had several in the last few months sell for list price in less than a week! How do I do that? It takes a lot of hard work, preparation and what I call “pre-marketing”.
The first thing I do is I write up a check list of “to dos” for the owners of the house. I like to start at the front yard and it includes weeding and mulching the beds, trimming the landscaping and trees away from the roof. Adding colorful flowers or plants to the bed and a brand new colorful “welcome” mat at the front door. You wouldn’t believe how important that is! Having inviting curb appeal can make the difference between someone calling and setting an appointment to see the house, or just driving by and going on to the next house for sale.
Once the front yard is groomed and ready, I immediately put my real estate “for sale” sign with a big rider sign that says “COMING SOON!” We have not put the house in the MLS yet, but our marketing has begun! The next phase takes a week or so depending on how much needs to be done to the house.
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