Residential sales statistics for the end of January 2009 have just been released by the Manatee Association of Realtors and they paint some good news and some not so good news. Because I like to hold the best for last, here’s the bad news:

Average sale prices for single family homes are 23% lower and condos are 58% lower than they were two years ago; they are 22% and 47% lower respectively than they were a year ago.

Inventory of single family homes climbed one percent during the last two years, while condo inventory remained relatively flat. The good news regarding inventory is that it is shrinking from the record high of 7,055 houses on the market last June and 2,231 condos on the market last January to the current 6,058 homes and 2,115 condos on the market at the end of January, 2009.

Finally, the best news of all is that more than twice as many condos (123%) were under contract at the end of January than were two years earlier; and in just one year, the number of condos under contract
increased by almost half! Although the picture is not quite as bright for single family homes under contract, there’s movement in the right direction: While 3% less properties were under contract at the end of January this year than two years ago, last January’s total homes under contract were only 1% higher than this year,
showing a positive increase in the single family market.

All indicators point to a growth in sales, even if not in values, and that’s an indicator that real estate is strengthening.

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