August, 2008

The data for the summer months suggests Belmont’s housing sector may be near or at the bottom for any market corrections though the picture outside the mid-peninsula remains uncertain. Belmont is a micro-market and we take this position not because all of the data points to positive market indicators, but rather the data points are all in flux. Arrow_ride_2

Taken as a whole, the sumer wasn’t bad to Belmont sellers at all. But like we’ve said before, it’s extremely hard to telll how bad a storm will be when you are in the middle of one; but all storms do pass and we’re getting a glimpse of daylight in our numbers. Whichever is the case– whether we are near the bottom or passed it–we’re all along for the ride, for better or for worse.

Instability in these critical numbers such as the amount a seller receives of their asking price, the median price compared to the size homes actually sold month-over-month is indicative of a market in change. In other words there is no real direction in which all the numbers point—whether it’s a buyer or seller’s market.

Belmont_aug_2008 ←Click on the spreadsheet for a larger size.

↓The number of sales in August fell to only 17 after posting a year high of 25 in July (there were 22 last year at this time). Though sales were down 32%, there were also 22% fewer homes to sell.

↑The median price however rose to $947,000 from $890,000 in July. In August last year the median price was $988,500. See our post on the median price correlation and the size of homes selling to put these wild fluctuations in perspective.

↓The time it took to sell a home went from 14 days in July to 41 in August. That’s a strong indicator that the slow summer months liquidated some old inventory; remember most of July’s sales were consummated in May and June.

↓The amount the seller received of their asking price dropped a whopping 7% from 98.37% in July to 91% in August and dropped 11% over last year when it stood at 102%. This statistic is understandable when homes are selling in 41 days instead of 14 as they did last month. Homes which are overpriced and languish on the market tend to sell way under what they should, but we’ll save that for our next post. Still, you can’t help but compare this to last year’s performance and give it a big red arrow.

This fall we expect sales will pick up a bit from August but still remain under last year’s numbers. This winter could be relatively quiet but we expect next spring to determine the fate of the local market into 2009.

Data extracted from the Multiple Listing Serice for San Mateo County.

The information contained in this postis educational and intended for informational purposes only. It does not constitute real estate, tax or legal advice, nor does it substitute for advice specific to your situation. Always consult an appropriate professional familiar with your scenario.

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