Our crack internet team has just finished compiling statistics on sales and prices in our region for the first quarter of 2010. Yes, it's true--the market is way up. Sales in New Haven county are up 34% over the same period last year. Prices fell 7%, which was less than they had been falling, and also reflects a shift in the mix of what's selling. The first-time homebuyer tax credit has the greatest impact in the lower price ranges, and that will make a difference. Also, the upper end of the market tends to be the most discretionary, and the lack of consumer confidence has had those buyers continuing to sit on the fence. If you'd like to see the full report, go to http://www.hpearce.com/, and pull down the Services tab to access Market Reports.
I just got back from a meeting of some of my peers, the presidents of other large independent real estate firms. Around the country, the news is much the same. Last year was so bad that we're all feeling better. We're all worried about what will happen when the tax credit disappears on Saturday, but we all agree that this second round has not been as effective in spurring sales. All of us have slashed costs, but know that a healthy company cannot survive in the long run by cutting expenses instead of increasing sales. We are fortunate here compared to markets like Reno, but even my friends there are seeing an improvement. Since 67% of their sales are foreclosures and short sales, that wouldn't be hard! We continue to be encouraged that independent firms are doing so well in competition with the franchises, and know that our ability to move quickly and make decisions has helped us immensely in this downturn. We were meeting in Davenport, Iowa, where the market never spiked the way ours did, so the landing has been much softer. There is a lot of activity there, and the average home price in some offices is about $90,000. That would be quite a bargain here!