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St. George/Washington County Real Estate Update

by Jeremy Larkin

The tides are a turnin' in many parts of the St. George area real estate market this month! Friends and clients on my mailing list have been hearing about this for the past few months and the positive news keeps coming.

In an article from today's "Spectrum" newspaper titled "Local Economy Stabilizing", local & regional economist Lecia Langston said Washington County's economy is beginning to stabilize. Well it's about time!

For so long our area was "insulated" from the major ebbs and flows of the economy, feeling only a percentage of the cyclical changes that may have been felt in other major metropolitan areas. Why? Well if you live here you know the answer, and if you are moving here you also understand. Great location, weather, scenery, national parks, low crime, the works!

Outside of all the economists' hard-to-understand charts and graphs, what we are seeing "on the ground" is this: Properties hitting the market and selling in a few days or less for list or even above list price, with the final price and terms being determined through a "bidding war." (see this WSJ article on just that: BIDDING WARS)

Here are some hard figures to consider:

February 
Total Pending 264
Total Active Listings 2650 %
Total Sold (30 days) 106 Sold
    % of Total
Active REO 178 7%
Active Short Sale 440 17%
Active Retail 2020 76%
Sold REO 39 37% 22%
Sold Short Sale 9 8% 2%
Sold Retail 58 55% 3%

May 5 #'s
Total Active Listings 2337
Total Pending 430 %
Total Sold (30 days) 202 Sold
    % of Total
Active REO 133 6%
Active Short Sale 472 20%
Active Retail 1733 74%
Sold REO 67 33% 50%
Sold Short Sale 37 18% 8%
Sold Retail 98 49% 6%

1. "Pending" sales up nearly 40% since February. All of the major financial and housing experts use pending sales as a major indicator of housing market health.

2. "Active" listings down 12% in that same time frame. Real estate, just like handguns and hammers, is about supply and demand. Lower supply is what we want.

There is still a TON of foreclosure inventory coming, but I think this is a good thing. Why? Because every well-priced home that hits the market right now, especially under $300k, is selling in just a few days. This tells us the public is finally ready to pull the proverbial trigger and get into the housing market.

Housing has always driven the rest of the financial markets. When people are buying, sellers are getting paid and spending that $$ on other homes, goods and services. In that process, real estate agents, title and mortgage people also get paid. They in turn spend money, and the eternal sales cycle continues.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions on this page about the figures above, as well as your personal opinions about the market. Onward!

 

Lipstick Needed for Pig - September Sales Figures are in!

by Jeremy Larkin

Look, I'm not going to sugarcoat this: Sales were down in September, the Economy is a mess and the Media isn't helping in any way shape or form. This is what Washington County Real Estate Sales have looked like for the past 3 months:

  New Listings Active Listings Sold Listings Months Inventory
Sep/2008 768 6,292 183 34.38
Aug/2008 818 6,403 227 28.21
Jul/2008 935 6,501 232 28.02

That last column is what we call the "absorption rate." 28 months of inventory was not good. 34 months of inventory is LESS good.

The flip side?

  • Credit actually IS available and we continue to see people buy and sell homes.
  • There are so many good stories out there, but nobody is telling them.

We just sold a home for 3 sisters from Idaho. They had held this condo in their family for many years and made a nifty profit. They were REALLY happy and it was closed and recorded just 38 days after it hit the market.

We assisted another young couple get into their first home last month and they are tickled pink. It was a bank-owned property, priced extremely well, and it got them out of a small apartment.

Then there is another family living in my immediate neighborhood whose' house is under contract to close sometime next week. They have owned it for 3-4 years, will take a nice little profit, use it to pay off some debt, then rent a larger home for a while preparing to buy again down the road.

I understand it is tough right now...BOY do I understand it. However, there really are good things happening for some people, housing values are getting back in line for the "everyman" and tremendous opportunities are surfacing for investors.

When all else fails I count my blessings every day to have a wonderful wife, 4 hilarious little kids and for every chance I get to enjoy the simple pleasure of pedaling and suffering on my mountain bike or road bike.

If you have any good, OR bad stories to tell about this market is affecting you, send them on over.

 

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Photo of Jeremy Larkin - The Larkin Group Real Estate
Jeremy Larkin - The Larkin Group
Keller Williams Realty
50 E 100 S, Suite 300
St. George UT 84770
435.767.9886
Fax: 435-359-5085

St. George Real Estate - Your premier destination for St. George,Utah Real Estate Listings, Home Values, MLS Search, REO/Foreclosure Info &  St. George Real Estate Statistics.  Serving St. George, Santa Clara, Ivins, Washington, Hurricane, LaVerkin, Toquerville & more! Specializing in REO/foreclosure properties, frustrated Sellers, First-Time home buyers, and Investors. Looking for the most LOCAL St. George, Utah real estate information available? Your search is over!