As published in the Savannah Morning News - 27 January 2013
How does the Savannah Market Affect You?
Should you wait for the market to improve in order to sell your home at a higher price? The truth is in the numbers. National statistics are nice to know, but there are inherent differences in communities throughout the country that affect local markets
We have a military presence, a port, and a coastal community that makes Chatham County unique. We have our own demographics, based on census statistics and area income levels. This helps determine home pricing and what people can afford to buy. For that reason, I study our local market more closely, while I keep one eye on national trends.
A few years ago, my broker, Nancy Thompson, warned our agents to pay attention to what was selling. She said if we weren’t focused on homes in the $300K and under range, our business would suffer. She was right, not only here, but across the nation.
As I write this article and utilizing information from the Savannah Area Board of Realtors CoreLogic MarketLinx, there are 2359 active and active/contingent (under contract with contingencies) single family homes, townhomes and condominiums on the market in Chatham County. There are 8.2 months of inventory, with more listings on the market at this time than in any month (except October) in 2012.
The good news is sale prices crept up last year from an average low sale price of $262K to a high of $316K. However, the laws of supply and demand are working here, with plenty of homes still on the market. I believe this increase in active listings is indicative of homes that were held back while sellers waited for market improvement, plus the addition of bank/institution foreclosures.
There were 144 properties listed by banks or institutions in all of 2012, as compared to 191 now on the market. Foreclosures will continue to pull prices down in our neighborhoods, which affects all of us.
Of the current 2160 active listings, the average list price is $328K, the median, $200K. I like to focus on the median number, since it levels out the playing field a bit, as the average can be skewed by million dollar property sales.
The average days on the current market are 244. Homes that sold last year in 30 days or less sold at 97.9% of the list price, as compared to those that took over 120 days which sold at 92.35% of list price. A case can then be made for pricing your home right, and presenting it in tip-top condition so your home will stand out with an opportunity to sell more quickly. Plus, by selling quickly, you reduce your carrying costs in taxes, maintenance, insurance, mortgage payments and home owner dues.
If your property falls in the higher, luxury price range, generally, as the list price increases, so do the days on the market. There are simply fewer buyers for high priced homes, and therefore the luxury market merits its own, unique marketing plan. I will address this subject in a future article.
In the last 6 years, sellers got a dose of reality, and many became more realistic, spurring sales at reduced prices. Many suffered over the long haul, reducing prices along the way, chasing the market down until their home finally sold. It’s been a long haul, and pricing right is the name of the game.
Seniors… it may not be worth it to wait for the market to improve it if you don’t have the time to put your life on hold. This will be a slow market recovery. Since I became a Realtor® in 1985, I have experienced three other market corrections, but none that compare to this one. It took ten years for things to get back to normal, and if you don’t have that kind of time, then consider the freedom you will gain when you move on with your life.
Yes, prices are creeping up, and interest rates are at all time lows, so buyers are rallying. Price it right and make your home available to the buyers that will appreciate your home. Can you give up years of your life “waiting”?
Any questions on the state of the market, and I’ll be glad to share my data with you!