I’d pretty much say that sums it up. Looking at the preliminary data from the Sullivan MLS for the 3 month period ending Feb. 29th, there were 98 single family home sales closed(down 18% from a year earlier). The average sales price of $185,445 was off 14% from a year earlier. The median sales price of $164,400 was off 9% from a year earlier, but does appear to be holding in the mid $160’s. The fact that the median is holding while the average continues to slide seems to support what I’ve been seeing for months, that the buyers who are buying are moving into substantially lower price ranges.
On the activity side, February didn’t hold out a bright light for the near term. February is usually a pretty busy month here in the second home market, with folks shopping for houses so they can be in for summer. I didn’t see a lot of activity this February. On weekends, I typically had one appointment rather than 2 or even 3 the year before. True, the weather wasn’t fabulous on some weekend days last month, but there were plenty of reasonably nice days is someone was really motivated to come up and buy a house. In general, the people I did go out with just didn’t find the deals they were looking for (I wrote about that at length in the post below, "Expectation Fatigue""), and I went the whole month without making one deal.
Interestingly, I’ve gotten a lot of inquiries over the past month for ‘super cheap’ properties — under $100,000. I’ve been referring them to other agents, because its just not my market segment. I don’t stay on top of inventory in that range, which are typically seasonal cottages, coop bungalows or handyman fixer-uppers. But over the next couple of months if the mid-market doesn’t pick-up, I may start focusing on the budget end again. I feel a little bit like a salesman at an Acura dealership who had a great year last year, but the showroom is now empty and the people who are looking for a car are going to the Chevy dealership across the street. The problem, though, is that a lot of those Chevy shoppers still really want an Acura.
The one bright spot in this seems to be upper end lakefront homes. A house on the market at Tennanah Lake for $1.29M went into a deal this past month. A house closed on York Lake for $875,000, and a house listed for $850,000 on one of the secondary lakes at Black Lake Estates is in contract. In the category "private lakefront", demand still seems to be outstripping supply.