Monday, January 14, 2008

2007 Annual Homes Sales Data Published

Just in time for my Annual Market Report and 2008 Forecast, Alaska MLS Inc. has published year-end data for 2007. You can reach the summary of that information I presented to the Anchorage Board of Realtors® on January 9 from this page of my site: Market Report.

The Anchorage Daily News yesterday (June 13) published its account of this information at this link: ADN Real Estate Story.

The source data charts and graphs are at this link: AKMLS Market Data. The annual reports on this page are from a year ago, but the monthly reports include data from December 2007 and include full-year comparisons with prior years. The MLS annual report format comes out around March, after brokers have late-filed their remaining sales and all the data is cleaned up.

The headline numbers are that the average price of a home in Anchorage rose 3.75% last year, notwithstanding a 10.3% decline in total residential sales. Only high-end homes, above $750,000, are experiencing excessive market times. Those sellers are in the process of adjusting their expectations.

The gap between final listing prices and ultimate selling prices has widened to 1.75%. That figure does not, however, reveal what I believe is a pattern of larger below-the-top-line concessions like seller-paid closing costs and builder upgrades. Nor does it break out market performance by quarter for last year, which probably would have shown a weaker market in the fall and early winter than the first half of the year.

The 944 homes for sale at the end of December is consistent with the balanced market of the 1990 decade, but about one-third more than we have seen at this time of year since 1998.

These numbers show Anchorage to be in far better shape than the headline-grabbing markets of the rest of the country, especially the West. According to year-end data from the National Association of Realtors®, prices have declined 3.3% in the overall US, and 6.8% in the West. The number of closed sales is off 20% in the US, 25% in the West.

The stable Anchorage market and forecast are consistent with favorable economic and job data from the Alaska Labor Department, which points out that Anchorage is in its 19th consecutive year of economic growth. Still, the current market feels more like a market going sideways than one that we can be sure will grow signficantly in 2008.

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