I’m optimistic about real estate sales now, and I’m ready to share the “Why’s.” From December 24th through December 31, 2008, 80 residential properties closed in Manatee County, 17 less than those closing for the same period a year ago. The good news is that the average sales price $260,000 was off less than 10% from the average sales price of $274,000 for the last week of 2007. Clearly, prices are leveling off, and that’s a good thing for the coming year.

There are other interesting phenomena that tell me the picture is looking brighter: two homes sold at over $1 million the last week of December 2008, with one of those reaching $3,200,000. Unlike 2007’s final week
when only one residence sold above $1 million for $2,450,000, both 2008 sales were not cash deals, but rather conventional mortgage purchases. All three homes were waterfront, single family homes. I believe credit will loosen and the waterfront will continue to be a best buy.

Finally, I’m happy to report that sales for the first week of January 2009 are painting a good picture too! Between January 1 and January 7 this year, 20 residences have sold, at an average price of $540,000. That’s because two properties traded at above the $2 million mark, with one at $2,450,000 and the other at $3,000,000. Compared to the same week in 2008, when 34 residences sold at an average price of $382,000 and only three cleared the $1 million mark, I’d say consumers are finally buying value when they see it, and making purchases within that magic 5-to-10 percent of asking price.

Change is in the air!

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