Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Current REAL ESTATE Market Anaylsis, Horseshoe Bay, Marble Falls, & Meadowlakes

The months of March through October are usually our highest volume sales in the Highland Lakes of the Texas Hill Country. A quick analysis for the previous twelve months’ home & lot sales for Horseshoe Bay, Marble Falls, & Meadowlakes (my primary market area) might be of interest. I’ve prepared spreadsheets that sort Oct. 2009 to Oct. 2010 sales by city, by category, & in some cases, by subdivision. If you'd like copies, just send me an e-mail: & I'll gladly share. My current listing clients get these regularly.

If you compare this year versus last year, our quantity of sales are almost flat. Anecdotally, however, my buyers seem to be asking two very important questions they were not asking before:

  1. What's the best DEAL (value) for the money regardless of price, category, or location
  2. How much more can I get if I move my price point UP to the next "xxx" number of dollars

During the 2008-2009 sales year, our market sold almost exclusively houses under $300,000 and over $1million. This year, we see the BEGINNING of mid-level ranged houses selling again. Yes, they must be great prices, exceptional properties, or exceptional values -- HOWEVER THEY ARE SELLING AGAIN.

  • “Single Family & Condos Sold” are heavily weighted toward NEW construction, regardless of city or category.
  • Most buyers resist remodels in our market, especially when new homes are available at reasonable prices, so older home sales have been hardest hit. Subsequently, they may also be the biggest opportunity for bargain hunters.
  • Until recently, there have been a number of new construction foreclosures on the market, which drove down prices even further. This is especially true for condos & townhomes
  • Today, there are fewer “single family, distressed” properties available & I don't foresee many more showing up in this category any time soon.
  • Condos, especially “The Waters,” may see still more foreclosures this year
  • Golf course homes, which were also very slow selling have begun to see activity again, especially in new construction & higher end houses (those asking over $500,000)
  • Another surprise for our market, is “Waterfront Single Family Home Sales” have slowed, while inventory is very high. There are currently 88 waterfront homes listed in our MLS as “for sale” in our three cities.
  • My OPINION is that there are fewer motivated sellers in that category
  • The oil business has settled down to a more normal level of business, & in TEXAS, oil related businesses supply an unfair share of our highest end buyers
  • Currently there are only 2 waterfront condos listed as “pending” in our MLS
  • Currently NO waterfront houses are ”pending” in our MLS.

Regarding home sales, the market seems to be holding its own or even trending up, based on price points paid this year versus last year.Whereas two years ago buyers were not buying at all, today there are qualified buyers, looking for bargains in most all categories.

When buyers ask me where the best STEALS are, without fail, I tell them "buy dirt!" Lot sales have been almost non-existent in the previous 12 months, & they show no immediate signs of improving. Serious discounts are available!!!

  • Savvy investors are beginning to inquire regarding lots again thanks to the news about the new county hospital & the recent positive changes at Escondido & Skywater
  • Builder’s profits are greatly affected by land costs, so those that can bank property are looking for particular bargains.
  • From talking to several Austin & San Antonio builders, I’ve been told the land costs there are rising again, so I believe our market will soon be viewed as the GREAT VALUE it is.
  • Until most of our newer construction single family inventory is sold, land sales will like stay very slow unless sellers are willing to provide deep discounts to buyers
  • It is often cheaper to buy pre-existing new construction than to build new

Every month, I prepare spreadsheets & average the sales numbers by category. Everyone understands the averages are arbitrary. Trying to compare locations, finish outs, age of the homes, etc, is impossible. But one very important average struck me: in almost every instance, the average percentage paid for a property, compared to seller's asking price was 92% to 95%.

Today, when there are so many bottom feeders, sellers are afraid to drop their asking prices close to what they'll actually take, but they NEED TO RE-THINK THIS STRATEGY.

If the price has too much negotiating room, buyers won't make an offer, but go where they think they can negotiate with someone who's more motivated and/or realistic.

Overall, I would not say the immediate future is rosy for sellers. It remains weighted heavily for buyers, but overall sales seem to be trending slowly up. There ARE many buyers willing to purchase if the value is strong enough. It's not strictly about PRICE, but the VALUE must be apparent in every transaction.

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