Lake home sales open strong
By John Coley | Lake Property
After a strong showing in 2011, I was curious to see if 2012 would continue the winning ways.
I consulted the Lake Martin Multiple Listings Service. It is the best repository of real estate sales in the area. It showed that for the first four months of the year, 61 waterfront homes have been sold on Lake Martin.
If you compare this with the same period in prior years, you see that in January through April of 2011, 57 waterfront homes were sold. In the same period in 2010, 52 were sold. So it would seem to me that 2012 has started out hotter than last year.
You may recall that in 2011 Lake Martin had its biggest number of waterfront homes sold since 2006, so it is no small feat when you beat a year like that. A quick look at the top chart in the righthand column shows how 2012 waterfront home sales are trending to beat last year.
One piece of information that might make one pause from the celebration would be the sales results for the month of April 2012. If we look at that month, we see that only 14 waterfront homes were sold, versus 22 in April 2011 and 19 in 2010. I put a lot of stock in this metric. I really pay attention to what any month in the current year does versus the prior year, so when I see a stumble like this, it always makes me wonder: is this the beginning of another downward trend, or merely a timing blip? I checked the Lake Martin MLS right now and found that 36 home sales are “pending” – or under contract and have not closed yet. If all those sales close in the next 30 days it will be a huge upswing in sales.
So which is it? Should we interpret the sales results by looking at the first four months as a whole or should we be cautious after a tepid April? Can you really tell much by looking at sales results through April? When I wonder about things like this, it always helps me to consult other agents who have their boots on the ground every day. They help by giving me perspective – hopefully they will you, too.
I talked to Rodney Griffith of Rodney Griffith Lake Martin Properties and asked him to compare this year to 2011 and 2010. Rodney said, “As I compare this year to the last two years, I am having a lot more activity in calls and emails from my websites. It seems to me that buyers are more serious about buying now than in the past. It’s really been a very good spring for me and I feel like it will carry on into the rest of the year. I think buyers have been waiting to see what was going to happen and now they are ready and going ahead planning to buy because they are tired of waiting.”
I agree with Rodney in sensing a bit more buyer urgency this year. What about other agents? Are they experiencing the same thing?
Toni Adcock with ReMax Around The Lake said, “I am receiving more buyer calls than anticipated. For the most part, people seem more ready to pull the trigger or less cautious or fearful than last year.”
I also asked Toni whether she puts much stock in the sales results for the first four months of any year, or any one month, and she replied, “My feeling is that the numbers are fairly predictive – while April might not be on target, the quarter certainly is and I think that will continue.”
Another factor, other than increasing number of homes sold, can be the supply side of the equation. This April, according to the MLS, there were 408 waterfront homes for sale, whereas in April 2011 there were 485. That is a 16 percent decrease in supply, a pretty substantial drop in my book. As we learned in school, when the quantity supplied decreases, and quantity demanded increases, it puts pressure on buyers. While the lake seems to be on a roll so far, I think we still to see how the hot selling summer months fare before we can crown 2012 a winner.
John Coley is a broker and owner of Lake Martin Voice Realty. He is also the author of the blog Lake Martin Voice at LakeMartinVoice.com. John mourns for all children born after Coke’s glass bottle era.