It’s official. Belmont’s median home price dropped 9.4% last year from $920,000 in 2009 to $833,827 in 2009.

Belmont Dec 2009

(click on the graph to enlarge)

There’s not much good news in the way of these numbers which would hint that the market is improving anytime soon with the exception of the “months of inventory” (*see below).

There seems to be a pervasive attitude within the real estate community to spin statistics any way possible to portray a happy healthy market but in reality real estate is experiencing some of the most volatile years in our nation’s history. And things are not stabilizing at any appreciable rate; in fact, many indicators point to just the opposite. That doesn’t mean you should no longer consider real estate a viable investment. It just means that you need to go in with eyes wide open. The recent market corrections (and even over corrections as in the case of many areas) has opened up some opportunities which may not be seen again for years.

The government is spending millions of dollars to keep interest rates low and offering tax incentives to spur homeownership. These conditions are temporary and indeed the end of special incentives may mean things get worse before they get significantly better.

Looking at the year-end numbers for Belmont, CA we see several statistics which put in perspective the tumultuous year real estate had in 2009.

The time it takes to sell a home in Belmont increased this year from 39 days in 2008 to 56 in 2009.

The amount a seller received of their asking price dropped from 98% in 2008 to 97% in 2009.

The median sale price dropped 9.4% in 2009.

*Month’s Inventory seems to be one bright spot in a rather dark spreadsheet.

The months of inventory refers to the time it would take to sell the remaining homes listed for sale at the current sales pace. Two major factors in this are how many homes are selling each month and how many new listings are coming on the market. The lower the months inventory the fewer homes there are to choose from and price stability invariably creeps back into the market.

Last December the three month moving average for Belmont stood at 5.47 months and this December that had fallen to only 3.61 months.

There were slightly fewer listings this year (10) and 18 more sales which accounted for this favorable statistic.

Read our next post on the buying opportunity window which is closing fast.

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