Thursday, August 16, 2007

Anchorage Market Tilts Gently Toward Buyers

Signs have emerged that we are in a market that has become tilted toward buyers in the past 18 months, but not dramatically so. The continuing evidence is in statistics from Alaska MLS, Inc. from July just published.

Inventory stands at 1378 homes for sale, more than any July since 1999 but consistent with inventory levels through the 1990 decade.

Inventory for 347 homes in the price class of $350,000-$500,000 rose from 6.4 months to 7.4 months in just the past 30 days. In the next bracket, to $750,000, inventory rose from 8.6 to 10.2 months. Less costly homes have less inventory. There is a larger supply of more expensive homes, with the million-dollar properties showing two years and four months supply.

Total reported closed sales are down 7.0% compared with the first seven months of last year, and down 15.1% from two years ago, same time period.

But the average sales price through seven months is 4.75% above last year's 12-month average value. This means prices are up about that much from this time last year. That is certainly less appreciation than 7.88% from 2005 to 2006, and double-digit inflation in each of the two years prior to that.

So prices are not falling, but sellers with unrealistic expectations are adjusting, or dropping out the market. "Price reduced" is the theme of our market. This adjustment of expectations is also evidenced by the gap between the last listed price and ultimate selling price. It has increased from 0.7% to 1.7%.

Market times of sold homes year-to-year '06 to '07 rose from 42 days to 62 days.

The world is not ending, contrary to what's being reported from Wall Street, but we have a normalizing market in Anchorage:

  • It will take some mental adjustments by sellers to accept that selling a home is going to take a more normal amount of time, and will only happen with pricing that positions a property to be the best value of its type.
  • Buyers, while they are pleased to encounter more seller flexibilty and available choices, still have to accept that property values are rising and that they cannot dictate a deal on their terms alone.
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