Recovery Enters 6th Year As Market Slowly Approaches the Previous Record Highs

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1st Quarter 2015

It was a solid year of continuing recovery in the Summit County real estate market.  Sales and prices increased respectably and the market is now within 15 percent the peak price levels of 2007, 2008 and 2009.
While the number of properties sold is still below average, about eight percent more properties sold in 2014 bringing total sales to within ten percent of the 20-year average.  1877 properties closed, the average is 2043. To put the scale of the recovery in perspective, at the low point in 2009 just over a thousand properties closed.
2014 brought sales of just under a billion dollars making it the 4th best year ever.  There have been only three years with more than a billion dollars in sales in Summit County, 2007 was the high point with $1.35 billion.  At the low point just 2 years later, the market had shed more than half it’s volume with only $600 million sold in 2009.
The 2014 average sale price of $498,000 stands at 87% of the peak in 2008 and is the 5th highest average sale price in history.  The average price for 2014 was $325 per square foot for residential properties.
Tnumber sold by yearhe only ones who are still waiting to break even are the 5200 folks who bought in 2007, ’08 or ’09 and they are getting close.  When that happens, the inventory will swell.
Properties sold for an average 96 % of list and took 216 days to sell.
The time on market really dropped as the year progressed and the inventory declined to the lowest number for sale since a short period in 2007.  In the 4th Quarter, the inventory dropped from a very low 1500 to stand at about 1100 for sale by the end of the year.  It can be argued that had there been a normal inventory, there would have been a lot more sales last year.  Lack of inventory starved the market.

Avg. Price Change 2011 to 2014
By market sector the results showed clearly that lack of available credit really held a couple of segments back.
Condominium prices only gained 2.7 % to $326,800 on 855 total sales.  They sold for an average 95.8% of the asking price and $347 per square foot.  Lenders are extremely reluctant to make condominium loans blaming government regulation and lack of a mortgage-backed securities market to dump the loans into.  A few smart lenders (perhaps two) have seen the huge potential for shareholder profit and are making sensible, solid loans that they keep in their own portfolios.  Still, more than half of all condominiums sold for cash.
Land is the other victim of lender perfidy.  A lackluster 115 lots sold last year averaging $324,500 or 2.3% less than the year before.  There were about 350 lots for sale at any given time last year and the few that sold went for 88.8% of list price.  Land remains the most undervalued segment of our market.  That’s where the only remaining bargains are.  A lot of folks will be kicking themselves five years from now when land sales and prices take off again.
Single-family homes did very well in 2014.  427 homes sold for an average $863,900, an increase of 9.5%.  They closed at 95.7% of list price and $293 per square foot.  Home loans are easy to get as lenders cherry pick the easiest jobs.

Avg. Sale Price
The best performing sector was in duplexes, or “paired” homes as they are now called.  New high dollar construction drove this sector.  Seven homes at Shock Hill Landing at Breckenridge averaged $1.9 million each and that’s only one of several examples. New construction activity drove the average duplex (excuse me, paired homes) price to $669,700, an increase of 15.9%.  138 of them sold at and average $316 per square foot and 97.5% of asking price.
So our market continues to chug along out of the depths reached in 2009.
Make no mistake, folks, this was a Depression and it has marked the current generation just as in the last Great Depression of the 1930’s.  It took our grandparents another 25 years to even consider a vacation let alone to toss money at a second home.  Fortunately, it is taking this generation a lot less time to move on.

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