Thanksgiving is now over, but not the time for giving thanks. We have so much for which to be thankful. We are thankful for our families and friends, for their health and safety. We are thankful for the privilege of living on the Highlands plateau. We are thankful for our business and we are thankful for you.
We get asked all of the time about the market in Highlands and Cashiers. Whether it is your portfolio of stocks or your investment in real estate, we believe that with good information, you can make good decisions for your important assets. Here is the end of November MLS numbers for 2008 residential closed sales as well as the same time period in 2007:
2008 2007 2008 2007
$300K and under 16 26 25 43
$301K-$500K 33 39 30 48
$501K-$750K 14 27 15 47
$751K-$1M 9 29 8 15
$1M-$2M 15 30 14 19
$2M and over 2 6 5 7
Totals 89 157 97 179
The average selling price of residential property in Highlands was $665,120 at 89% list to sale ratio. During the first 11 months of 2007, the average selling price was $826,568 with the list to sale at 88%. The average days on market (DOM) for a home to sell were 254. The volume of sales is down 43% and the average selling price has fallen by 20%. This does not mean that home values have dropped by 20%. It is simply indicative of a lesser demand for our highest priced homes.
In Cashiers/Glenville/Sapphire, the average selling price for residential property this year was $697,614 at a 90% list to sale ratio. In 2007, those numbers were $666,174 at a 93% list to sale ratio. The average DOM for the Cashiers/Glenville/Sapphire market was 233. Although the volume of sales was down 46%, the average selling price actually went up 4%.
There is a fair amount of inventory on the market in every price range. Here is a list of active home listings in each community by price range:
$300K and under 32 75
301K-$500K 95 134
$501K-$750K 91 129
$751K-$1M 87 88
$1M-$2M 117 110
$2M and over 33 56
Totals 455 592
Until the economy can stop its precipitous slide, sales will be soft. This is good news for buyers who have the upper hand and will be able to obtain exceptional values. We have always felt somewhat insulated here in Highlands from what is happening in the real estate markets across the county, and the truth is, that in all my years as a realtor in Highlands and Cashiers, I have never seen a buyer’s market of this magnitude.
Buyers markets exist when there is more inventory than buyers. Because buyers have many homes to choose from, not every home for sale will sell. Most experts agree that if six months or more of inventory is on the market, it is a buyer’s market. Here are a few advantages to buying in a buyer’s market:
Lower sales price
Sellers are more willing to negotiate because they know if they refuse to accept your purchase offer, they might not receive another. When fewer homes are selling, prices typically fall.
Buyers can command concessions
Buyers can ask sellers to pay their closing costs, providing their lender will allow the credit. Buyers can ask Sellers to pay for a home warranty. If the home is in need of repairs or updating its systems, sellers will often credit the buyer for the repairs or fix the problems noted by a home inspector. Buyers can ask for longer inspection periods, extend closing deadlines, or ask for personal property to be included – terms that would be usually rejected in a seller’s market.
Contingent offers are more acceptable
Sellers are generally more agreeable to accepting a contingent offer that is dependent on the buyer selling the buyer’s existing home. An offer in hand is better than no offer at all. Request for repairs easily negotiated
Most buyers want to know – have we reached the bottom? Have prices fallen as low as they can go and when will the market begin its inevitable climb up? Do we buy now or wait? The economic forecast continues to be cloudy with rain. However, I do think there are rays of sunshine on the horizon.
One of those rays is the historic appreciation of real estate which generally has seen a 25% appreciation every 5 years (except in the period of 2000-2006 when the increase was a staggering 89%). The other ray of sunshine is the return on investment over the past eight years when compared to the return on investment for stocks and bonds. With a $100,000 investment in real estate in January of 2000, that property would be worth $172,000 today. That same investment in the Dow would be even money today; in the S&P would be worth $87,300 and in the Nasdaq would have fallen to $55,000.
Can there possibly be a better place to put your money than in real estate? We don’t think so.
After the holidays are over and your thoughts turn again to the mountains, please keep Meadows Mountain Realty in mind. We have a brand new website with the most complete information on the The Highlands Plateau available at www.meadowsmtnrealty.com. We are just a phone call or an email away. Let us help you find the perfect mountain property and a great investment for your future. We are thankful for you and for your referral of any family or friends who may be interested in property in our area.