Hope everyone has found their ways back after a holiday break. Always nice to go home for the holidays, reminds you why you don’t go back more often. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family to death… but the likelihood of a death increases exponentially with each day I’m exposed to them. All jokes aside, hope everyone had a great festive season!
Getting back on point though, the December numbers are in, and it seems temperatures weren’t the only thing down in December.
Prices took a beating last month. Single family home prices sunk to levels we haven’t seen since the lowly days of the winter of ’08, back in the worst of the financial crisis and before interest rates were tanked. The SFH median dropped to $336,500 and the average to $355,271. As we can see from the graphs the lowest in two years, and not far above the bottom of the first phase of the bust. If/when it goes much lower, we’ll have to go all the way back to ’06 for a comparison.
Month-over-month the median dropped $13,500, oddly close to the year-over-year drop of $14,000 (which is about 4%, a little scary considering the ultra strong winter which goosed prices). But December can be a bit of an outlier with the typically reduced activity, though I do expect this weakness to continue right through the winter and spring just don’t be surprised if there is a little bounce in January.
Condo’s actually didn’t fair terribly on the whole, infact the median was up $2,000 MoM. Average was down over $6,000. Year-over-year they aren’t doing as well though, the median now sits at $220,000, down 3.5% ($8,000) from a year ago. The average took an monster hit or 7.2% ($17,342) from a year ago and now sits at $223,454. The softness of the condo market continues to make itself known. The average actually now sits at it’s lowest point since November 2006. Yeah, 2006. Not purdy.
After an oddly strong November, sales tumbled back to about the level they were expected to for December given the yearly trend, with the preliminary number coming in at 764. Rather low for December, but well above the brutal number put up in December 2008 when the preliminary number was a mere 543 (that was the worst December tally since 1994).
It does put us over 16,000 for the year though, we won’t know the final number until the revised number is revised figure comes out later in the month. Hell, we won’t even know then, they never seem to stop playing with these figures since they changed methods a year ago. In anycase, this will be the worst year sales wise since at least 2003, or even 2002 depending on what the revised number is.
Now time for the EKG, see all that bad cholesterol we shoveled down during the break is effecting us. As expected, we eclipsed the -1000 MoM mark last month, pretty much business as usual for December. A little bit bigger drop than last year, but not as big as the two years preceding that. What’s it mean? Who the hell knows, there is still a shitload of homes on the market. That’s what it means!
There are 5,721 to be exact, about 1700 more than a year ago at this time. I imagine they’ll come back online as per usual over the winter and spring. The heights it will reach will depend on the desperation, I’d think 8-9,000 come summer is a sure thing… if we eclipse 10,000 we’ll know things are getting real ugly out there.
But fear, cause even if you think this news is a big lump of coal in the stocking of housing bulls… it could always be worse. For example, just before the break my boss dropped a file on my desk and said get it down ASAP this guy could bring us a lot of business and he want’s to tell him what’s what before the break. So I worked on the file, and just before leaving for home I swung by his office to drop it off. He asked my what the good news was… I looked at the file, shrugged, and said, “Well, he hasn’t been audited yet.”
The partner grabs it, and says it can’t be that bad. I then proceed to tell him the guy has been funneling off money for years from his company and not reporting it… thus has an outstanding tax liability of well over a hundred thousand dollars. So no matter how bad your holiday was, it was quite probably better than our clients, cause you might have some fat credit card bills coming in the mail, but at least they aren’t to the tune of six figures!
Finally, and as always, here are the hard numbers:
Sales* = 784
Since two years ago = +44.4% (+241)
Since one year ago = -11.0% (-97)
Since last month = -30.0% (-336)
Active Listings = 5,721
Since two years ago = -9.4% (-595)
Since one year ago = +41.7% (+1,684)
Since last month = -18.1% (-1,261)
Single Family Homes Median* = $336,500
Since peak (May ’07) = -15.9% (-$63,500)
Since one year ago = -4.0% (-$14,000)
Since six months ago = -6.3% (-$22,500)
Since last month = -3.9% (-$13,500)
Condo Median* = $220,000
Since peak (July ’07) = -17.0% (-$45,000)
Since one year ago = -3.5% (-$8,000)
Since six months ago = -4.3% (-$10,000)
Since last month = +0.9% (+$2000)
Residential Median* = $300,000
Since peak (July ’07) = -12.7% (-$43,500)
Since one year ago = -1.6% (-$5,000)
Since six months ago = -4.8% (-$15,000)
Since last month = -2.6% (-$8,000)
Single Family Homes Average* = $355,271
Since peak (May ’07) = -16.3% (-$69,129)
Since one year ago = -2.7% (-$9,970)
Since six months ago = -9.3% (-$36,226)
Since last month = -2.0% (-$7,386)
Condo Average* = $223,454
Since peak (July ’07) = -18.6% (-$50,925)
Since one year ago = -7.2% (-$17,342)
Since six months ago = -7.9% (-$19,190)
Since last month = -2.7% (-$6,149)
Residential Average* = $308,497
Since peak (July ’07) = -13.4% (-$47,642)
Since one year ago = -2.0% (-$6,348)
Since six months ago = -8.0% (-$26,900)
Since last month = -3.4% (-$10,982)
* Preliminary data, subject to revision