Wednesday, August 16, 2006

July Market Data: More Homes, Constant Demand

Alaska MLS, Inc. published its July reports today showing that 1105 homes were for sale at the end last month, more than any July since 1999.

Through the '90's we had about 1200-1400 homes for sale. In recent years the housing shortage has given buyers only about 600 homes to choose from.

Demand is relatively constant, however. Closed sale reports year-to-date are down only 4.6% compared with last year, and 6.3% under 2004.

Prices continue their upward trend. The average sale price this year $309,824. This is about 6.5% above the average at this time last year. Higher mortgage rates -- 30 year loans are pricing about a half-percent above last summer -- have added to the cost of home ownership.

Mortgage costs and purchase price are combined with utilities by the US Labor Dept. for the housing component of the Consumer Price Index, which they reported this week went up 4.2% in Anchorage last year.

So consumer demand seems constant but the cost of home ownership continues to rise. With more homes to choose from, however, buyers may take longer and the time it takes to sell a home may increase somewhat. So far that's not happened: 43 days is the average selling time for the 1720 sales so far this year, the same as last year and four days less than two years ago. Nationally marketing times of 60-90 days are considered normal.

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