Weekly Market Activity Report 6.23.08

By MAAR on Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Home sales are continuing along a relatively smooth course so far this summer, with newly signed purchase agreements (pending sales) increasing by 3.8 percent over last year for the week ending June 14. Over the last six weeks, pending sales are behind the same time period in 2007 by only 30 sales, or 0.6 percent. When you compare that to the consistent 15–20 percent declines of the last few years, this is welcome news.

Simply matching last year’s numbers does not allow home sellers to celebrate recovering buyer interest in their properties. Plus, we need to keep some perspective on what types of sales are comprising this new stabilization of activity. A hearty 27.9 percent of purchase agreements from the last six weeks were made on lender-mediated foreclosures or short sales. Buyer activity is being propped up by the increased market share of these types of properties.

Traditional sales over the same six-week period are down 21.0 percent from last year, while lender-mediated sales are up 284.5 percent from 406 sales last year to 1,561 this year. So the traditional seller still faces some challenges—and some new and very different competition.

All told, heavy buyer interest in lender-mediated properties is viewed as a positive sign. We need the prevalent lender-mediated inventory to be absorbed before our market can return to some semblance of order. The sooner these properties are worked through the market cycle, the sooner that the mist of uncertainty they bring to negotiation, appraisal and home value will lift.

Wmar

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