Memphis Real Estate Sales Report for November, 2008

The Memphis Area Association of Realtors has released the November 2008 and 2008 YTD sales figures.
November had a steep decline (31.2%) from 2007 in total sales and a 22% decline in median price of sold properties from 2007. Year-to-date, total sales are down 19% – 12,643 vs. 15,609 in 2007, and median price has dropped 13.1% from $137,000 in 2007 to $119,000 in 2008. The report has break outs of sales data for areas and price ranges.
I believe we will see the median price trend down as the REO (foreclosure) inventory sells at bargain prices. Foreclosures are impacting values used by appraisers, which trickles down to evaluation of homes for new mortgages or even refinancing with today’s incredibly low rates. I have not had any trouble arranging for mortgages for qualified buyers, but there seems to be a large pool of buyers out there treading water feeling around for the bottom of the market. That is the greatest factor in low sales numbers. I don’t know what the sign will be, but when buyers perceive a solid bottom, I believe they will come back to the market place to shop for bargains, despite other indicators in the overall economy. On the listing side, the area has the lowest number of active listings in about 2 years. My very unscientific read is that lots of folks who have not been able to sell their homes in the initial 6 month to 1 year listing period, are just not putting their homes back on the market when listings expire. In a healthier market, aggressive agents would be barraging those expireds with listing pitches. I am just not seeing much of that. So, we are in a short term state of malaise, but I think we are approaching the point where even I will be able to say “It’s a good time to buy.”

In the > $1,000,000 category, the absorption rate is 2.8 units per month, bringing the Spake Index for this month to 58.5 (58.5 months -yes almost 5 years- supply of homes over $1M now on the market)

Click for full report

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Joe Spake is a Memphis-based Real Estate Broker and Consultant. He blogs at Joe Spake's Weblog and Memphis Real Estate Buzz. Joe's Social Network.