Existing home sales are showing an uptrend not only nationally but in Douglas County as well. The latest monthly trends for January 2012 shows a total of existing home sales rising 5.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.61 million which is up 3.6% higher than they were in 2011. The National Association of Realtors chief economist, Lawrence Yen, said “it appears that the economy is on its way to recovery. The pattern of home sales in recent months demonstrates a market recovery.” I still feel that we need to work on a sustain strategy of job growth in Douglas County which will then lead to more prosperity for all us.
Conventional interest rates on a 30 year mortgage still remain very low at 3.96% and there is still a large inventory of existing homes for sale, which makes for a great time to buy a home. Foreclosures and short sales still account for about 10-15% of all our sales in Douglas County which is below where we were last year at this time.
Even though we are writing up more sale contracts than we were a year ago at this same time, we are still finding it difficult in getting these pending sales to closing. The lender’s underwriting department is being extra cautious and has challenged many of the values that appraisers are using as comparable sales. We just never know once a home has been sold and the appraisal has been submitted whether we can get it close. In fact, only about 20-30% of our sales are closing once they have been accepted by all the parties.
In Douglas County our residential closed sales rose from 66 to 69 (+4.5%), and pending sales rose from 78-84 (+7.7%) and new listings when down from 169-141 (-16.6%) which is good news for us. In fact the current inventory (843 listings) would last 12.3 months compared to 16 months in 2011 and 19.4 months in 2010. Total market time also dropped from 220 days to 150 days when comparing January 2011 to 2012. These are good indicators for us because they show us a trend in the local real estate market improving. However, the average sales price decline in comparing 2011-2012 by (-13.7%) $186,400 in 2011 to $160,900 for 2012.
Our residential rental market continues to improve with a 8-9% vacancy rate which is lower than the last couple of years. Also, as people move out of their homes and relocate they are finding tenants as well. In commercial and office space, it is a different scenario with vacancy rates as high as 50-60% depending on location. Many small businesses are still suffering and are finding cheaper rents or negotiating with their present landlords to adjust their rates downward.
Please keep our troops in harms way in your thoughts and prayers as long as their families for they are making severe sacrifices for us. Enjoy your life and go out and volunteer your time and talent for some worthy organization that you are passionate about.