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May Busts Loose with the Biggest Sales Increase in Years

by Marc Lebowitz, RCE, CAE

Executive Director, Ada County Association of Realtors

Beautiful picture provided by Jeremy Rynearson

Single family home sales in May 2013 were 815 in Ada County, an increase of 32% compared to May 2012. This is the largest monthly sales figure since April 2006…when sales were moving down from historic highs.

Year-to-Date sales in 2013 are 2,931; up 18% over YTD 2012 sales of 2,650.

Dollar volume for May was up 44% to $191 Mil.

Days on Market averaged 46 in May; down 10 days from last month!  On average a home sold in nearly two week’s less time in May than in April.  For the first five months we averaged 58 days-on-market.

New homes sold in May totaled 158, an increase of 17% compared to new homes sold in May of 2012.  Sales of existing homes were up 36% in May; the highest year-over-year increase in many years.

Historically, May sales increase by 8% over April.  May 2013 sales increased by 16% compared to April 2013. This is the strongest May over April sales increase since 2006.  Note: The second strongest is a tie between 2002 and 2005 (15%).  This could be a key indicator for the rest of this year.

Of our total sales in May… 12% were distressed (98 total sales)….down 9% from April 2013. In May 2012, 29% of our sales were distressed.  In May 2013 40% of distressed properties were REOs (39 total sales ) and 60% were short sales (58 total sales).

This is fourteen months with short sales being the larger percentage of distressed properties sold.  Before the bubble and “the dark days” that came after we didn’t routinely include this data point in our analysis…in the 2001-2003 period we did average about 10-12% of total sales were either short sales or REOs.

Pending sales at the end of May were 1,423; down very slightly from April. In general pending sales in May are the highest of the year; and June the second highest.  Pending sales at the end of April were the highest in four years! The percentage of pending sales in distress did not change from the end of April, totaling 14% overall.

Of Pending sales in distress, short sales outnumbered REO’s 1.6 to 1.

At the end of May, we had 13% more sales pending than at the end of May 2012.

May median home price was $195,000; up 8% from May 2012. Median home price is above $190,000 for the first time in five years!  We continue to outpace our national recovery; according to NAR’s most recent report; national median price is $192,800.

New Homes median price for May was $272,425; up 18% from May 2012. For Existing homes the increase is 9%.  I know of at least one builder who recently increased base price because of soaring materials costs.

The number of houses available at the end of May increased 1% from April 2013 to 1,893.  This is 8% less than last year at this time. Since January we have increased the number of single family homes for sale by 123%.  This is what is allowing us to sustain our YTD sales increase.

The overall increase in active listings continues to be driven by the addition of existing homes to the market; increasing 5%. The number of New Homes available has decreased a little from April.  With Existing Home’s median price up 21% YTD it’s clear that more owners are getting their relationship with their mortgage “right side up” and electing to list their homes for sale.

At the same time, the percentage of distressed active listings decreased 3% to 14% overall. Last month we predicted that this indicator would be “under 20%…by the end of April”.  It’s sure fun being right about good numbers…

With an inventory increasing and the percentage of distressed inventory decreasing; median home price will continue to strengthen well into 2013.

Of our Distressed Inventory 82% are Short Sales (214 homes) and 18% are REO (47 homes).

Available inventory increased (a little bit) at most price points. Everything from $200,000 to $500,000 increased in May. The price range adding the most homes to the market…$300,000 to $400,000 with an increase of 20 homes.

In Ada County we now have 2.5 months of inventory on hand.

The price category in shortest supply is <$120,999 where we have 1 month. All price points up to $500,000 have a <4 month’s supply.

Based on May sold data, our most desirable price point is $120,000 to $160,000 which was 22% of total sales. The next largest price point sold is $160,000 to $200,000 at 20% of all sales. Coming in a strong third are the three price points between $200,000 – $400,000 which were 12% each. The category most improved is $300,000 – $400,000 which was up 33% from April to May.

We now know for certain; “the Spring of 2013 was the best in seven years”.  REALTORS® have seen it coming…but your buyer clients are absolutely overwhelmed right now. They can’t keep up with your pace. They don’t understand where all the houses went. They can’t believe that a full price offer won’t get them the home of their dreams. They need you now more than ever.

We are also watching an interesting trend; the number of homes that are sold “outside” the mls. These “pocket listings” or “office exclusives” are accounting for nearly 30% of sales in certain markets; and the percentage is growing. Certainly there are some listings that sell better to a smaller “private” group of buyers; but the question that arises is simple: “Who does it benefit the most?  The seller or the agent?” More on this as the summer builds.

Always nice to catch a fat rainbow on the O. #rainbowtrout #owyheeriver #skwalathermohoody #cortlandnymphrod #hardyreels
From left to right: first day of 3rd grade, kindergarten, and 1st grade (again).