January home sales follow annual trend
by Staff Reports
There were 62 realtor-assisted sales worth $14.98 million in January, as recorded by the High Country Multiple Listings Service. That's the most home sales to start a new year since 2008.
The last month to record fewer home sales was January 2012, when just 55 sold for $14.2 million.
"This winter started off slow but the past month made up for the late start with snows that made the ski slopes very happy," said Laurie Phillips, executive officer of High Country Association of Realtors. "January sales are really a reflection of November and December activity since it normally takes one to two months for a property to close after it goes under contract."
The median sold price for the month was $222,500, an 11-month high. It was also higher than the median sold prices recorded in in January 2012 ($215,000) and 2011 ($220,000). But it was below the marks set the three previous Januarys (2009-10), during which the median sold price for the month never dropped below $230,000.
"It is exciting to see the sales numbers for January considering the weather challenges and showing conditions during that time," said Phillips. "The High Country MLS is currently showing approximately 135 single-family homes under contract, so that's very encouraging."
Housing inventory also increased, with 247 new listings added to the MLS. That was a five-month high.
The National Association of Realtors recently released its 2012 real estate report. It mirrored what was recorded in the High Country, where sales hit a four-year high while the median sold price fell to 2010 levels.
Overall last year, there was $355.72 million worth of real estate sold in the three-county area. That includes all commercial, land and homes sold, according to the High Country MLS. That was the highest total sold since 2008. It was also a 18.6 percent increase over 2011, but still 53 percent market totals from 2007 ($750.8 million).
Nationally, the preliminary annual total for existing-home sales in 2012 was 4.65 million, up 9.2 percent from 4.26 million in 2011. It was the highest volume since 2007. The median sold price was $176,600, which was only 2 percent higher than the 2010 mark.
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun continues to see positive signs in national real estate sales.
"Record low mortgage interest rates clearly are helping many home buyers, but tight inventory and restrictive mortgage underwriting standards are limiting sales," he said. "The number of potential buyers who stayed on the sidelines accumulated during the recession, but they started entering the market early last year as their financial ability and confidence steadily grew, along with home prices. Likely job creation and household formation will continue to fuel that growth. Both sales and prices will again be higher in 2013."