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Location: Mars Hill, NC, United States

A small, highly personalized real estate firm specializing in mountain homes and land in greater Asheville.

Monday, May 04, 2009

March, 2009 Real Estate Data

The Quick Summary
There are a number of 45 or 50 year lows being touched in the different market segments. It is our belief that any calls for a market bottom, however timid, are premature.

The huge overhang in inventories and the dominance of foreclosed and distressed sales are huge and unhealthy factors that will take perhaps the rest of the year to work off. Local and national markets remain a long way from normal.

Supply Indexes
New Homes Permits, Starts, and Completions, (PDF): Declined from one year ago by 45.0%, 48.4%, and 30.9% respectively. In spite production cutbacks like these for more than 18 months now, inventories of new homes remain bloated at 12.2 months of supply, about twice the level we would like to see.

The Census Dept began this data series in 1959 and March comes in as the second lowest point seen in those 50 years. The Big Picture has nice graphics for those inclined. Single family starts, the most prominent of indicators remains around 77% below the peak in 2005. Single family starts were down 50% in the South.

Existing home inventories expressed as months of supply rose to 9.7 months. There is no escaping the fact here, with either new or existing homes that such excess inventory will continue to put pressure on prices, and keep buyers on the sidelines until then.

Demand Indexes
New Home Sales, (PDF): Volume declined by 30.6% from one year ago. The annual rate of 356K is the lowest level for any March since 1963. In the South new home sales declined by 29.7% from last year.

Existing Home Sales, fell by 7.1% from one year ago. In the South, they fell by 10.9%, while single family homes in the South declined by 11.3%. Around half of these sales are distressed or foreclosed properties. Business Week points out that foreclosures in March, 2009 set a new high.

We have stressed the wide, negative impact that distressed sales have on the numbers many times. Distressed sales artificially inflate existing sales levels, at artificially lower prices, thus hurting the ability of normal sellers to compete, and in fact, decreasing what might have been new home sales. See Calculated Risk for more.

And In Greater Asheville?
From The Asheville Citizen Times:
Existing home sales in Buncombe County fell 19.5 percent last month from March 2008...
In our home county of Madison, for Q1 2009 vs. Q1 2008, total home sales have declined by 35%, and land sales by 60%. When compared with Q1 2006, homes have declined around 80%, while land is down around 90%.

Inventories in all cases are highly inflated and the slope of decline has remained constant.

Buyers and sellers have plenty of time yet to pick their spots in the market.

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
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Filed Under: Real Estate Statistics and Data, Asheville Real Estate Data

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