Garry and Lisa in the Longmont Newspaper!
Continued historically low interest rates and five-year lows in inventory are the highlights of the Longmont-area housing market heading into 2013.
Following the bottom falling out of the market in late 2008, it has been a long, slow climb back up for the real estate industry. The so-called Great Recession and the economic upheaval that went along with it have made for a bumpy ride the past several years.
But in 2012, things seemed to return to normal, with the federal government’s incentives and the worst of the foreclosure situation having run their course.
Single-family home sales picked up in the St. Vrain Valley in 2012. Total homes sold in Longmont were 1,082, a 21 percent increase over the 892 sold in
2011. The average days on market dropped 16 percent, to 88 from 105 in 2011, and the median sale price was up nearly 12 percent: to $230,000 in2012 from $206,000 in 2011.
But the number of active listings — 280 in Longmont at the end of 2012, compared with 309 at the end of 2011, according to Kyle Snyder of Land Title Guarantee Co., who compiles monthly stats for the Longmont Association of Realtors — is at a five-year low, meaning buyers’ choices are limited.
“I haven’t seen a lot I’ve liked, but I like this,” prospective homebuyer Barbara McCormick said as she toured a house in the Yeager Farms neighborhood last week.
Her real estate agent, Dene Yarwood of Wright Kingdom Real Estate, reported the next day that McCormick had decided to buy the four-bedroom, three-bath house.
Yarwood, a broker/associate with Wright Kingdom and 2013 president of the LAR’s board of directors, said the Longmont real estate market really started ramping up last spring.
“It’s still such a great time to buy,” Yarwood said. “Interest rates are still so, so low. And prices haven’t climbed as much as we’d like them to yet.”
She said the normal laws of supply and demand don’t necessarily apply in the market right now. Given how low inventory is, it would seem prices should be up significantly, but they are, in fact, lagging, Yarwood said.
“I think it’s because of the issue that we had with appraisals before 2008 that put us in this position to begin with,” she said. “In 2008, we were too free with our pricing, and right now we are being too conservative. If we can find something in the middle, it will help both buyer and seller.”
While there is building going on — at Yeager Farms, for example — the homebuilding industry is still recovering from the complete stop of just a few years ago, Yarwood said.
“Suddenly after our market changed last March, it took a little while to get it going again,” she said. “There is some construction going on, but I think now they’re kind of playing catch-up.”
Lisa Henry, a broker/associate with Legacy Real Estate Group, said the market now is almost a complete reversal of the way things were about seven years ago.
“Then, we had more listings than we had buyers,” Henry said. “Now, we have more buyers than listings.”
For example, she said, in Longmont, the largest number of houses sold are always in the $175,000 to $250,000 range. At the moment, Henry said last week, there are 40 of them on the market, “and of those properties, 19 are under contract.”
Once you factor in specifics such as location and layout of a particular house, the field of choices for the buyer is narrowed even further, she said.
the plus side, for the buyers, “they can buy more house for the same (monthly) payment than they did 10 years ago,” Henry said.
On the seller end of things, the low inventory doesn’t automatically mean people can simply hand out a for-sale sign and fetch what they’re asking, according to Yarwood.
“I think you still have to present a good product to attract buyers,” she said. “And while we’re not back to pre-2008 pricing, we’re inching up, and that’s a good note for sellers.”
Josh Hunter, the owner/broker of Metro Brokers/St. Vrain Realty, said he’s noticing buyers are most interested in “the shiny one on the shelf” — referring to how clean a home is, how move-in ready it is and what kind of improvements have been made, such as with kitchen appliances.
“Those are where we’re seeing 10 days — we’re seeing low days to an offer,” Hunter said. “Luckily, I was in four or five of those deals (last) year, where we were seeing multiple offers in just a few days.
“Those well-cared-for, ready-to-move-in homes, no joke, should be receiving an offer within 30 days,” Hunter said. “I’ve been telling people: location, location, condition.”
We spotted this on the RE Technology Portal, via the Showing Suite blog.
We pulled our real estate showings statistics report for February 2012, and compared it to the last five years. According to Showing Suite’s CBSA reports, We’ve found that in 2012, home showings in February continue to rise, at a 15% increase compared to February of 2011. Real estate showings were at an all time low in February 2011, with a 23% drop compared to February of 2007, which had the most showings for the month of February within the last five years.