The regular market reports will resume on Friday, but for today I just wanted to expound on the general market a little.
Things have really changed in the last few months. Just 4 or 5 months ago, I was constantly looking for “follow through” on strong numbers for almost every market segment. There would be a good month or two, but then there would be a lousy one to cast doubt into the recovery process.
There were programs designed to “bring back the housing segment”, and while some of them did manage to move the market for a short time, for the most part, they only seemed to steal from future sales. Sales that would have happened regardless were moved up in order to qualify for government subsidies or more favorable tax treatment. But over the long run, they didn’t create many sales that wouldn’t have happened over the follow couple of months.
After all of that worked through the system, and consumers were more certain that there wouldn’t be future inducements, sales started picking up again… but the real boost to the sales numbers has been inventory reductions. And while there are still rumors of a “tidal wave of foreclosed properties”, those same rumors have been around for 3+ years, always with the tidal wave 4-6 months away. There could indeed be a wave of foreclosed properties poised to hit the market, I wouldn’t bank on it. And the market does seem ready to absorb some more inventory, especially on the entry level end of the spectrum.
The bottom line is that the real estate market is getting back to normal. In fact, under $200k in most of Gwinnett, it is well into Seller’s Market territory. From $200k-$400k, it is mixed. Above that, it is still pretty much a Buyer’s Market, but not to the extent it has been for the last few years.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the market when the general economic recovery starts in earnest. I am still of the opinion that the best stimulus for the housing market is a recovery in the jobs market. While the unemployment rate has gotten better, the labor force participation percentage rate hasn’t budged much. The unemployment rate discounts workers that give up or time out on unemployment, while the labor force participation rate includes everyone that could be in the labor force.
I’m firmly of the belief that many buyers are reluctant to make a 30 year plan (buy a house and get a mortgage) when they are worried about the security of their job over the next year.
Stay tuned to see how it all shakes out…
Preliminary stats for Duluth, May, 2012 indicated that there were 426 properties on the market. Overall, there is about an 5.3 month supply of properties. Sales in May were 91, up from 71 a year earlier. Sales were up compared to the prior month (77). Duluth had been slightly leading Gwinnett County as a whole, but not so much over the last few months.
In the Under $200k arena, there were 151 listings in Duluth, GA, with about a3.2 month supply. The Absorption Rate for last May, was 7.05. Sales in May were way up this year v last year (50 v 37), but only slightly up compared to last month (47). The Absorption Rate (A/R) is better than most of the county…
Between $200k and $400k, there are 122 listings for sale, and about 6.7 months of supply. Absorption rates have similarly risen, dropped and then risen again, but they are moving the right way now. Sales were down compared to May, 2011 (20 v 18) and compared to last month (16). Duluth is a market that favors luxury, but this segment is not doing as well as I would have expected…
From $400k to $600k, there were 49 homes on the market. The Absorption Rate was around 7.4 months. May brought in 8 sales. There were 10 last year and 6 last month. As with much of the county, the recovery that seems to be solidifying at the lower end of the price strata is much weaker here. Duluth is a luxury centric market, and it is doing better than the rest of Gwinnett County, GA, but the segment is still kind of weak, and it decelerated.
In the $600k to $800k arena, there were 41 listings, with about 12.3 months of supply. Sales were 2 for May… 3 for last year. And month to month sales were down (5 v 2). Last month was ok, but I would like to see three consecutive months with strong sales, and haven’t seen that for a while. Since Duluth does favor luxury sales, it looks better than the rest of the County at this price level.
In Duluth, GA, from $800k to $1m, there were 23 homes listed and approximately 7.7 months of inventory on the market. The 6 sales recorded for May rocked last year’s 2 and from the 1 from last month. Sales haven’t been moving much for the last couple of months, but 9 sales for the last 3 months bumped the same 3 months from last year (8 sales). It isn’t as weak as that suggests… at least I hope it isn’t. And five months ago the A/R was 69 months.
Above $1m, there were 40 properties listed. The current absorption rate indicated about 15 months of inventory. A couple of sales at this level could have a large impact on the Absorption Rates. There were 8 sales in the Mar-May period this year, and 7 for the same time last year. We should be posting four sales a month here regularly… and we hit that this month with 5 sales.
Duluth, GA is a suburb of Atlanta, in the heart of Gwinnett County. It actually straddles the county line and has unincorporated portions in South Forsyth County. The population of Duluth is estimated as about 26,000 people as of 2008, but this doesn’t include unincorporated areas outside the city limits, but with a Duluth mailing address. It is also home to Sugarloaf Country Club, a PGA stop until recently. Forbes Magazine rated Duluth 26th in their nationwide survey of the best places to move, and it is one of the wealthiest parts of Georgia. It is also home to the Arena at Gwinnett Center (Home of the ECHL Gwinnett Gladiators) and the former Atlanta Thrashers practice facility (the Duluth Ice Forum). There is a LONG list of celebrities and athletes that call Duluth home, largely because of the country clubs and proximity to Atlanta.
I have a page dedicated to Duluth Market Information.
Market stats for Lawrenceville, GA, May, 2012, indicate that there were 1046 properties on the market. Overall, there was about a 3.9 month supply of properties. In 2011, sales for May were at 262, so 267 sales was a solid increase, year over year. Last month’s sales were at 256. Coupled with the decrease in inventory, things are looking pretty good. Normally the market picks up from January through about June-August. This month we are rocking, in fact, some are arguing that constrained inventories are holding back sales or we would be looking even better.
For Lawrenceville, GA, Homes Under $200k, there are 870 listings, with about a 3.6 month supply of homes. Sales were well down from May, 2011 (235 v 246), although sales may very well be down because of constrained inventories. Last year in this segment, there were 1340 listings v the 870 now. This segment is easily the lion’s share of sales for the area. With the 3.57 month A/R, it is solidly in Seller’s Market territory. The low Absorption Rate (AR) is due to very strong sales, coupled with dramatically lower listing inventories. Month over month sales were down, though, from 237 in April.
Between $200k and $400k, there are 148 listings for sale, and about 7.1 months of supply. Oddly, this had one of the weaker segments in the county, now it’s mid-pack. The 31 sales for May, 2012 were WAY up from the 16 from last year. They were also well up from the 18 sales last month. But, we are still slightly in Buyer’s Market territory here.
From $400k to $600k, there are 23 homes on the market (big jump from the 16 last month). The absorption rate is around 34.5 months (also a big jump from the 12 last month). However, with the level of sales in this segment, a couple of sales added or subtracted can have a HUGE impact. There were 0 sales for May, the Absorption Rate has dropped from 78 months last June, through good, but sporadic sales. There were 0 sales in May, 2011. This is acting like a luxury market and the A/R is jumping all over the place… with just a few sales (A/R was 7.1 five months ago). While the long term trend was looking a little better, now it is still pretty choppy.
Between $800k and $1M, and Above $1M there are 2 homes listed (combined) and not enough sales data to give an accurate absorption rate. There has only been one sale in this range in the last 3 years (Aug, 2010), according to FMLS.
Lawrenceville is in Gwinnett County, GA, just outside of Atlanta. As of the 2000 Census, there were 22,937 people in Lawrenceville, but that is only including people in the city limits, and there has been a lot of growth since 2000 in Gwinnett County (2008 estimates from the Census Bureau peg population around 29,000). It was incorporated in 1821. Lawrenceville is home to Central Gwinnett High School, and also has students that the Mountain View and Archer clusters. It is also home to Gwinnett Technical College and Georgia Gwinnett College. Another recent addition to Lawrenceville is that it is home to the Gwinnett Braves, playing at the Gwinnett Stadium on GA20 between I-85 and GA316. Possibly the most famous resident of Lawrenceville was Oliver Hardy. As a small boy he lived in Lawrenceville with his parents for a short time. Lawrenceville was also home to Junior Samples. Some of its other residents included Jeff Francouer, Brian McCann and Jennifer Ferrin.
I have a page dedicated to Lawrenceville Market Data.
Market stats for Buford, GA, May, 2012 indicate that there were 388 properties on the market. Overall, there was about an 4.5 month supply of properties (Absorption Rate or A/R). There were 86 sales for May, flat from 86 last month and up from the 75 sales last May (2011). It isn’t the strongest market in Gwinnett, but the A/R is nothing to sneeze at. It is solidly in Seller’s Market territory.
In the sub-$200k arena, there were 217 listings, with a 3.7 month supply. This is the largest price segment in this market area, so strength here usually equals strength across the whole local market area. Sales were down from last month 54 (v 61 last month), but flat compared to last year (54 sales in May, 2011). But, the A/R is WAY under the 6 months that would be considered fairly balanced… pointing towards a solid seller’s market.
Between $200k and $400k, there were 130 listings for sale, and about 6.2 months of supply. The 25 sales recorded were up from the 19 from last month and from the 17 sales last year for May. This had been one of the weaker segments in the county, but has improved dramatically and at current A/Rs, it is one of the stronger $200k-$400k segments in the county (aside from Suwanee).
From $400k to $600k, there were 20 homes on the market. The absorption rate is 3.8 Months. There have been 16 sales in the last 3 months (3 for March, 6 for April and 7 for May). When the market is rolling, there should be 6-8 sales a month during this part of the year. Just for comparison, there were 2 sales in the Mar.-May period in 2011. This segment has been bouncing all over the place… but it is VERY strong right now.
In the $600k to $800k arena, there were 5 listings. Absorption Rate is 5 months… but it jumps around a lot. Sales in this range are pretty sporadic, but steady when looking at the long-term. The drop in inventory over the last few months from 14 homes to 6 has made things look less slow… but there were 4 sales in this segment last year… and 3 sales in March, but none since. But the low inventory is what is driving the incredible A/R.
The range from $800k to $1m, there were 5 homes listed. But, with no sales this year or last year (2011), obviously trends are hardly definable. Listings are down, but sales aren’t following through.
Above $1m, there were 11 properties listed. The last sale in the segment was in April… of 2009…and then there was May, 2011… and 2 sales in June, 2011. So, we have 66 months of inventory. I hope, but am not expecting, sales to be more consistent.
Buford, GA is a suburb of Atlanta in Gwinnett and Hall Counties. The population is 2000 was 10,668, but that only included the area inside the city limits, and it had seen tremendous growth since that census. Buford is home to Lake Lanier, one of Georgia’s premiere recreational areas, and Lake Lanier Islands. Recently, the City of Buford has revamped their old town. It is also home to Buford (Buford City Schools aren’t a part of Gwinnett County Schools), Mill Creek, Mountain View and Lanier High School (Lanier will open for the 2010-11 school year).
I have a page dedicated to Buford Market Data.
Market stats for Sugar Hill, GA , May, 2012 indicates that there are 143 homes on the market. Overall, there is about an 5.1 month supply. There were 39 sales, compared to 32 last month and 43 last May. Of course, last May, there were 238 listings on the market.
For Sugar Hill homes priced under $200k, there are 97 listings, with about 3.5 months supply. There were 34 sales this May, slightly worse than last year for the same time (39). There were 25 sales last month. Inventories have been fluid, rising and falling. This time of years we often see a slight decrease in listings… but we are already very low.
Sugar Hill Listings between $200k and $400k, there are 42 listings for sale, and about 10.5 months of supply. Last May there was an 12.8 month supply. There were 4 sales, this year there were also 4. Last month had 7 sales. It makes the last couple of months look more like flukes.
For listings in the $400k to $600k range, there were 3 homes on the market. The absorption rate was around 9 months, but with 1 sale this month (and that being the only sale since November), it is tough to calculate accurately. Obviously, a sale or two could make a BIG difference. I still hope to see some consistent activity in this segment.
In the $600k to $800k, $800k to $1m and Above $1m (combined), the sales are too inconsistent to have a solid read on, but there were only 2 homes listed for sale in that price range. No sales have been recorded in the last 2+ years.
Sugar Hill, GA is a suburb of Atlanta in Gwinnett County. The population is 2000 was 11,399, but that only included the area inside the city limits. The name comes from a bag of Sugar that spilled on a hill while in transit between Cumming and the railroad in Buford. And while it is actually a big market, it is in the shadows of Lawrenceville, Duluth and Suwanee… which all are nearby. That also makes it a great location, as it is close to everything that Gwinnett County, GA has to offer.
I have a page dedicated to Sugar Hill Market Data.
[caption id=”” align=”alignright” width=”300”] This map shows the incorporated and unincorporated areas in Gwinnett County, Georgia, highlighting Lilburn in red. It was created with a custom script with US Census Bureau data and modified with Inkscape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption]
Market stats for Lilburn, GA, May, 2012, indicate that there were 306 properties on the market (as of May 31st). Overall, there was about an 5.0 month supply of properties and 68 properties that closed (sold) in May. It was a huge increase from last year’s sales (54) and an increase from April (65 sales). The Absorption Rate notched down a good bit. Lilburn had been among the weakest of Gwinnett County, GA, cities I track. But, at 4.99 months of inventory, it is downright strong now. Six months is considered balanced, lower is a seller’s market and higher is a buyer’s market.
In the sub-$200k arena, there were 212 listings, with about an 4.2 month supply with 59 sales. This represents most of the sales in the market area. Sales increased a bit from last month (51), and were also up from last year (41). While the Absorption Rate isn’t as low as many other areas, sales are strong, and I’m still pulling for a comeback for Lilburn. At 4.2 months of inventory, I’d say with a few months of similar stats, we’re there.
Between $200k and $400k, there are 82 listings for sale, and about 8.0 months of supply. This segment had been quite weak for months, and had stalled a little, but came back with a vengeance. It is stalling a bit again. There were 8 sales compared to 14 last month and 11 last year. Lilburn has never been seen as a luxury market, but this number isn’t terrible. The decrease in listings has really helped. I’m still not as confident about this portion of the Lilburn market coming back quite yet… It was strengthening, just not as consistently as I’d like.
From $400k to $600k, there are just 7 homes on the market. The absorption rate is 10.5 months. There was 1 sale in May. Poised for a comeback, but the increase in listings and weak sales don’t give the right ingredients for that to happen. To start with, we can’t have 7 month blank spots in sales (none from Aug11 through Feb12). If we can keep up a sale each month on average, this one will be back.
From $600k to $800k, $800k to $1M and Above $1M, there are 5 listings (combined), but too few sales to have any sort of reliable number of months of inventory. March posted the first sale since August, 2010. It was in the $600-$800k range. One of the listings is above $1M and one between $800k and $1M, and there is no market activity in the last 12 months for those ranges…
Lilburn is in Gwinnett County, GA, just outside of Atlanta. As of the 2000 Census, there were 11,307 people in Lilburn, but that is only including people in the city limits, and there has been a lot of growth since 2000 in Gwinnett County. It was incorporated in 1910. Lilburn is home to Parkview High School, and also has students that the Brookwood, Berkmar and Meadowcreek clusters. It is also home to Killian Hill Christian School, Providence Chrisian Academy, St. John Neumann Catholic School and Parkview Christian School. Possibly the most famous resident of Lilburn is General Beauregard Lee, a groundhog with a better winter prediction record that Puxatawnee Phil up in PA. Dominique Wilkins, formerly of the Atlanta Hawks also lives in Lilburn.
I have a page dedicated to Lilburn Market Data.
Market stats for Suwanee, GA, May, 2012 indicate that there were 455 properties on the market (up from 426 last month). Overall, there was about a 5.0 month supply of properties (down from 5.4 last month). May had 99 sales. Compared to May, 2011 (88), this year was pretty hot. Inventory was down compared to 2011 (640). There were 75 sales last month. Gwinnett had a pretty good month, and it was evident here.
In the Under $200k arena, there were 118 listings in Suwanee, GA, with about a 3.2 month supply (184 and 6.5, respectively last year). This May’s sales were WAY up, at 42 (29 last year, 28 last month). This was definitely the strongest price segment in Suwanee. And one of the strongest in the whole county. The next level up is coming up fast. There are a few other segments in the county getting close, though.
Between $200k and $400k, there were 220 listings for sale (310 last year, 200 last month), and 5.5 months of supply. Sales in May, 2012 were 43 (35 in April), compared with 45 for the same period in 2011. Sales have been bouncing between very strong and average for the last few months. I’d like to see some consistency around 40-50 sales for the next couple of months. This shouldn’t be a “peaky” market/price segment. Unlike most of the county, this is the largest price segment in the area, and its direction plays a major part in how the area looks.
From $400k to $600k, there were 62 homes on the market. The absorption rate was at 6.0 months (7.1 in April). There were 11 sales in May (10 in April)… up from 10 last May. Looking at the three month average, there were 31 sales this year and 18 for the same period last year. This segment had gotten dramatically stronger in the last couple of months.
In the $600k to $800k arena, there are 27 listings, with about a 13.5 month supply. Sales at this level are not consistent, but there were 3 this month (0 last month). Looking at one month makes the numbers jump around. For the last three months, sales were 6… For the same time last year, the sales were 5. With the huge decrease in listings over the last couple of months, I was looking for this to become one of the strongest $600k-$800k area in the county. But until I see 3-5 sales a month on average, I can’t call this one strong.
The range from $800k to $1m, there are 8 homes listed and 24 months of inventory on the market. There were only 4 sales at this price level last year (1 in April, 2 in July and 1 in August) . This is a tough segment to try to sell in right now, but if inventory stays low, it won’t be quite as rough. But there still needs to be some more sales activity. There was 1 sale in March this year.
In Suwanee, GA, Above $1m, there are 20 properties listed. The current absorption rate indicated about15 months of inventory, but because of the smaller numbers of sales, this could be significantly impacted by just a couple of sales (2 for March, 2 for April and 0 for May). In this segment, we should be seeing reduced inventories… There were 22 homes listed in this segment at this time last year.
Suwanee, GA is a suburb of Atlanta in Gwinnett, Forsyth and (just a little bit) in Fulton Counties. The population is 2000 was 8,725, but that only included the area inside the city limits, and it had seen tremendous growth since that census. Money Magazine rated Suwanee in the “Top 10 Best Places to Live” in 2007, and it is one of the wealthiest parts of Georgia. Recently, the City of Suwanee has revamped their old town, adding a large park with a bandshell, condos, town homes and small businesses. It is also home to North Gwinnett High School, Peachtree Ridge and Collins Hill. I have a page dedicated to Suwanee Market Data.
Every buyer in the market has one goal in mind… get the best deal possible on the exact house that they want.Â Of course, there are a few problems… but like most problems, there ARE solutions.
The first problem is understanding value…Â To begin with, the quality of the deal is NOT measured by sale price v listing price.Â The list price and the value are NOT directly related.Â You might actually have a better deal in your hand at full price… or even above… with one property, while another might be over-priced at half of the list price.Â Compare the price you are getting to the value of the comps.Â Don’t forget to subtract (or add) for needed improvements, updates and other differences.Â That is what real estate agents do when they create a Comparative Market Analysis.
The second problem is being realistic…Â Sure, there is a chance that you might be able to get a property that has a realistic worth of twice what you will pay for it, but don’t expect it.Â Especially if you are looking for a property YOU are going to live in.Â If you are looking for a rental/investment property, then you don’t need to worry as much about the particulars of living in the property… only how it will work financially.
Third, learn the real market…Â You need to have a heart to heart with your real estate agent.Â You need to talk openly about the area values and trends.Â Not the national values and trends, not the state… not even the city or ZIP code, but the area… subdivision or neighborhood, as well as the price range.Â In the market areas I monitor, I see instances where the direction of the market in one price range is opposite that of the adjacent price range.Â The same thing happens with locales.
The fourth problem is REAL big.Â Don’t “just toss something out there as a starting point”.Â This one is huge.Â I see it all of the time.Â Buyers toss out an incredibly low offer “to get the ball rolling”.Â BUT, when working with an actual human seller, it often only serves to anger them and get them to dig in their heels.Â When dealing with an institutional seller, it makes them think the buyer isn’t serious.Â In either case, what ends up happening is that the chance of a deal gets slimmer… and if there is a deal between the buyer and seller, it might end up not being as good of a deal as if the buyer had made a higher initial offer.Â (BTW Sellers… this one works both ways… pricing too high often leads to a lower selling price in the end).
Finally…Â Be READY to act when you find what you want.Â It isn’t a deal if you leave it laying on the side of the road.
If YOU are ready, give me a call.Â Lane 678-200-5895…
I am a gearhead. And the last vehicle that I really built up was a Jeep Wrangler. A friend of mine and I coined a term (at least WE think we coined it).
[caption id=”” align=”alignright” width=”300” caption=”English: A Jeep Wrangler TJ with a 2 inch suspension lift, 1 inch body lift, 12,000 pound winch and 33 inch tires offroading in the snow in Alaska. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)”][/caption]
For us, we were talking about building Jeeps. And the steps… and the changes along the way. On MY Jeep journey, I went from 29” tires and a stock suspension to a 2” lift and a 31” mud tires. Then there was a 3” lift. Then we tweaked it to 4” and put on some 33” tires. Then we got wild and built a new suspension that was 6” over stock… slapped on some 34” tires… then 35” tires (there was room, why not?).
There were other things aside from the height… in fact, every part of that Jeep went through multiple incarnations before it finally went away (the only time there are done is when they are gone).
The point about incrementalism is that the steps just follow each other… whether we mean them to or not. When I started, I didn’t intend to end up with a big Jeep on 35s. Furthermore… had that been my intention, I should have just done that the first time. I spent a LOT of money on the intermediate steps.
But it just kept creeping along… out of control.
Of course, it is a little different. But what happens is that they go from having a $175k budget to liking a house priced at $200k… they might be able to negotiate it down and it isn’t that much more, right? Then we are looking at homes that are $210k… then $225k… $250k. Now we are looking at a house that is very unlikely to get negotiated back to their range, and the payments would be significantly higher.
Some buyers might be able to swing it… others, not so much. But the point is that the change is gradual. Kind of like the boiling frog story.
Be careful with incrementalism. It can bite. Here is my original post about incrementalism, from June 7th, 2008.
Market stats for Norcross GA, April, 2012 indicate that there were 257 properties on the market. Overall, there is about a 5.2 month supply of properties. The last year has been fairy strong… it hasn’t slowed much, if at all. April saw 50 sales, slightly over the 49 for April, 2011, and slightly below the 51 for March.
In the sub-$200k arena, there were 136 listings, with about 3.6 month supply. Sales are well off from last month and from a year ago in this segment, which is the main driver of sales in this area (37 v 44 in Apr11 & 36 Mar12). For the last seven months, the AR has been tilted in favor of sellers. This still looks like one of the strongest price/area segment in Gwinnett County, GA. At just over a 3½ month A/R, this is VERY strong for sellers.
Between $200k and $400k, there were 91 listings for sale, and about 12.4 months of supply. This segment had been weakening for the last few months. But, the 7 sales were pretty good compared to last year’s 3 sales, but got kicked by last month’s 11 sales. Even though it isn’t gangbusters, it is certainly better than the 28 months of inventory we had in December, 2010. We really need a strong May for this segment to look good.
From $400k to $600k, there were 25 homes on the market. The Absorption Rate is around 8.3 months. The AR had been fairly steady for months, then shot WAY up in January. April’s 5 sales were up from the 3 the month before and up from last year’s 2 sales. This had actually been a pretty good area for homes in this price range to sell… The good news is that it would only take a few sales to put it back in a balanced range.
The range from $800k to $1m, there was 1 home listed on the market and 1 sale in March (0 sales for April). There were no sales last year. Unfortunately there isn’t enough data for a good A/R number.
Above $1m, there was 1 property listed. But because of the smaller numbers of sales, the absorption rate could be significantly impacted by just a couple of sales. There is simply not enough activity for an A/R figure. The last sale was January 2011.
Norcross, GA is a suburb of Atlanta in Gwinnett County. The population is 2000 was 8,410 but that only included the area inside the city limits, and it has seen tremendous growth since that census. The City of Norcross revamped their old town a long time ago, and it has served as a model for other towns in the area. It is also home to Meadow Creek and Norcross High Schools. One of the things that Norcross is known for locally is the beautiful older homes in the downtown area. They have maintained their historic flair quite successfully.
I have a page dedicated to Norcross Market Data.