Monday, March 10, 2008

February 2008 Santa Barbara Association of Realtors Statistics

You may or may not know this, but the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors puts out their official statistics once a month. They wait until the 5th business day of the month to pull their statistics. This policy is consistent with the National Association of Realtors and the California Association of Realtors.

The local statistics that are compiled cover the South County communities of Carpinteria, Summerland, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Hope Ranch, and Goleta.

The Santa Barbara Association breaks down their numbers by property type, price range and district. Some of the most commonly used information is median price , the days on market, the number of new listings, and the number of sold properties.

So much is made of the median price and whether it is going up or down.

I don't think that will really give us an idea of how healthy our market is so I'm going to focus on a couple of things here. Those things are the number of currently pending transactions, days on market, and new listings.

My thoughts are these, our market is just like most others. It is based on supply and demand. Therefore if you start tracking the number of properties that are currently in escrow and you track how long it is taking properties to sell you can get a good idea of the demand.

As far as the supply goes, I think you need to keep an eye on the number of properties that are coming on the market. That gives you an idea of how many folks are deciding to sell or where your supply is.

Here are those numbers for Feb 08 vs. Feb 07 for condos
There were 33 properties in escrow in 08 vs. 38 in 07.
Days on market in 08 was 86 vs. 165 in 07.
The number of new listings for 08 was 51 vs. 74 in 07.

Some of the differences are pretty striking. February of 2008 is showing a significant decrease in the time it takes to sell a property. Combine that with fewer properties to sell and just a few less properties in escrow and you could argue that the demand for Condominiums is going up. That strikes me as a healthy market. I have heard that properties that are coming on the market are better priced and sellers are more ready to sell than they were a year or more ago. These are the pieces of information that make me believe the volume of properties that are selling is going to start increasing.

What are the numbers for homes in the Santa Barbara area Feb. 08 vs. Feb 07?
There were 79 properties in escrow in 08 vs. 95 in 07.
Days on Market in 08 was 96 vs. 105 in 07.
The number of new listings for 08 was 140 vs. 120 in 07.

The statistics for home sales don't show quite the same picture as the ones for condos. As you can see the time to sell a home is decreasing but isn't as significant as it was with condos. The number of properties in escrow is significantly less and the number of listings is up. So if you use the same logic here you aren't seeing the demand improving yet. The good news is that the days a property is taking to sell is coming down. That tells me that well priced homes are getting snapped up. Maybe these numbers are telling us that sellers haven't quite figured out where they need to be based on the demand that is out there. Time will tell. I do think the next few months will start showing some of the same signs the condo market is showing.

So my quick opinion on the health of the market is that we are seeing signs of it transitioning from one where supply was high and demand was low to one where the supply and demand are more balanced. It will be fun to see if I'm even close.

See You In Escrow!

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