A common theme among a lot of real estate commentators and writers is advice to sellers to wait to put your property on the market if you don't have to sell now. In that advice is an inherent belief that the market is bottoming and will improve next year. That seems to jive with what I've been feeling here, that there haven't been that many great properties coming to market this summer. But I wondered if that was actually true. So I took a look at 2 property categories that I regularly track, lakefront homes and non-lakefront homes on 10+ acres.
From Jan. 1 to July 31, 2007, there were 80 lakefront homes listed for sale during that period, with a median asking price of $430,000. (Note: this is not a 'snapshot' of the number of lakefront homes on the market, but only of lakefront homes with a listing date between 1/1/08 and 7/31/07. Carryover listings from 2006 that were active during that period were not included.) Between Jan. 1 and July 31, 2008, there were also 80 lakefront homes listed for sale during that period, with a median asking price of $495,000. Even though the same "total inventory and carryover issue" applies, if the theory about sellers holding property off the market is true, I would expect that the number of new lakefront home listings would be a fraction of the previous year.
In the non-lakefront homes on 10+ acres category, there is a similar inventory picture. Between Jan. 1 2007 and Juy 31, 2007, there were 104 new listing with a median asking price of $399,000. For the same period this year, there were 102 new listings (with an almost equivilent median asking price of $404,950.)
So inventory is coming to market, but the problem we're facing is the one we've tended to face historically. There may be lots of inventory, but there isn't lots of good inventory. There are currently (snapshot here) 84 lakefront homes listed for sale here, and I've seen most of them. Probably only about half don't involve some significant compromise (poor condition, seasonal-only use, lakefront access separate from house, road between the house and lake or road noise from a nearby major highway.) Of the remainder, only a fraction of those are particularly well priced and able to elicit the coveted "Great value" moniker from potential buyers.