Lately the news in the media has been drops in unemployment rates, the U.S. economy is in recovery. Maybe it doesn’t feel like it to some, but its what we are seeing in the real estate business. The numbers don’t lie. After talking to some of my realtor friends, they agree. We are all light on our number of listings (Anyone want to sell? Call me! I need more listings too!), and working with lots of buyers who are getting frustrated because the mega-deals are drying up, and pickings are becoming slim.
Just last week I had a buyer who found a listing he liked, it had been on the market 3 days. On day 4 he put in an offer, and we found out the Seller had received 5 other offers by then. His offer was within 5% of the asking price, and he still didn’t get it. It hasn’t closed yet, but I have a feeling it sold over the asking price or very close to.
In downtown St. Petersburg, the condo market is heating up, with sales having increased by 7.4% from December 2010 to December 2011. I get walk-ins who come into the office asking about the price of condos downtown and they are shocked to hear that the two buildings closest to my office start around $800,000 (if you are lucky!) No, not everywhere is distressed. Signature Place Condominiums in St. Petersburg has seen its average sale price go up by well over $100,000 on the 2 bedroom units since mid-2010. Waterfront single family homes in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties are especially hot right now as well.
To give you an idea of the most recent numbers from the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors, in December of 2010, the average sales price was $154,000. That figure is up to $159,000 as of December 2011. Here’s where the real shocker is: in 2010, we had 16,448 listings on the market in Tampa Bay. That figure is down to 9,328 now, with just 5.3 months of inventory. At this point, under 6 months of inventory, we are considered a balanced market, and as I’ve said before, I am starting to see it swing the other way where Sellers have a little bit of the upper hand in some areas, especially in St. Petersburg and South Tampa. With just over 24% of the active listings being distressed currently, the majority are still short sales, with far fewer foreclosures than in the past.
I keep hearing “the banks are holding back foreclosures because they don’t want to flood the market”. When have the banks ever cared about our real estate market? Certainly not in 2004-2005 when they were issuing thousands of bad loans. But I digress, we’ve been hearing this line that banks are holding back for two years now, but I’m not sure they if really are anymore. Holding back until when? I almost wish they would release a couple of new listings, so my buyers have more to pick from! The foreclosures are drying up in the markets I’m working in and are becoming harder to come by. I still get customers who tell me “I only want short sales and foreclosures” because they assume they are the best deals. However when a foreclosure listing gets 10 offers in 1 day, and the price gets driven up way over the asking price – is it still the best deal in town? Something to consider.
If you’ve been on the fence about buying or selling, now may be the time to make a move. Call me if you’d like to discuss what your home may be worth in today’s market, or I can help you identify the best deals in town, before interest rates start to rise.