In a nut shell here is where we are in Manatee County.
The Good News!
- Inventory is down, countywide, about 10% from January. In some neighborhoods, for example, Condos in Waterlefe, inventory was this time last year at 35 units, now we are at 17 units!
- Sales are up a bit with pending deals per month at 300-400 units.
- Months of Supply. We are down from 24 months of inventory to now 18 months. ( 6 months is considered a "normal" market, whatever normal means!)
The BAD News!
- Foreclosures are continuing to rise in our area, although we are not the worst market for foreclosures, we have a few thousand homes that are, or will become foreclosed in the near future. These homes will depress the market prices for entry level, and workforce housing. Most of the homes that were bought as "flips" or "investments" really fall into a class that appeals to full time buyers, as opposed to the second home and vacation home buyers. Most of the homes that have been selling so far this year really are to this category of buyer. If a home does not appeal to a Vacationer, then I predict prices will continue to fall as the job market, and economy suffers. Rich people will always be drawn to Florida. We have the beaches, golf, boating, and Disney!
- With the poor economy, inflation, and the price of gas homes that are on the outskirts of town will suffer more than homes that are closer to amenities. The homes that are located in remote neighborhoods in east, and north county are becoming less desirable because buyers are considering the 20 mile trip to the grocery store as a factor in home buying.
In conclusion, I see that we will have a slight rebound as we bounce on the bottom of the market for luxury/vacation homes. And, homes that are in remote, work-force areas will continue to decline with the increase of distress and foreclosure homes coming on the market.
This is the best time to be a buyer because homes that have great potential are available in numbers we have never seen before. Selection is great, and yes if you buy today there may be a home that comes on for less next month, but chances are it will be a home in poor condition, or have a flaw that keeps a well qualified buyer away.
My philosophy is that Every home is right for every buyer.... At the RIGHT price! Of course, there are going to be bargain hunter stealing homes, but when you look at appreciation potential the homes available today offer some of the best Value and future price appreciation potential.
Remember that when the papers tell you that the market has switched, then we are already in a appreciating market, It is always best to buy while we are depreciating and forget about perfecting the timing. That perfect house will already have been sold!