It's still bad but it could be much worse! That's the reality of real estate in Hunter's Green.
January home sales in Tampa Bay were up 14.3% over last year, but Hunter's Green trounced that number, bringing in 50% more sales in this January than last. Granted, only 6 homes sold in Hunter's Green last month, but with all the negative real estate numbers we've been seeing lately, we'll take all the good news we can get!
But unfortunately, that's where the good news ends. Of the 6 home sales in January, only one was a single family home. The rest were condos. The median sold price per square foot of single family homes fell 19.8% from $95/sq.ft to $76/sq.ft. Given that the median home size of single family home sales last year was 2,442 sq.ft last year, that means the median home in Hunter's Green is worth right around $186,000 based on January sales.
The cause of the problem continues to be distressed sales. All sales in January 2011 were either foreclosures or Short Sales – "distressed sales", in industry jargon. Last year, we at least had one conventional sale, but this year, everyone who was selling was in some form of financial distress. Distress does nothing but hurt the housing market.
The real estate industry insists on comparing same-month sales, so that's where we started our analysis. But that practice can mask the true health of a community, especially since January is always the slowest month for sales in any given year.
When we looked at the last 12 months, home sales in Hunter's Green have been pretty flat – hovering around 4 homes per month and even spiking to 9 sales back in June, when the home buyer tax credit was in full swing. Flat is better than declining.
Sold prices haven't been all that awful either – the median sold price per sq.ft in 2010 was $97; it spiked to $118 per sq.ft back in October. So don't get too depressed just because January was a bad month – the picture for 2010 didn't look quite as dire.
Still, the trends aren't super-favorable. Foreclosures or Short Sales accounted for 33% of Hunter's Green properties last year, and the median distressed sale price was $86/sq.ft. That's just over 11% below the median conventional sales price.
So here's the message: Unless your fellow Hunter's Green home owners stop short-selling their properties or losing their homes to foreclosure, it's going to be impossible for sale prices to hold their ground.
Expect home prices in Hunter's Green to fall another 10% or more before this housing crisis is over, and don't plan on any wide-scale recovery until at least 2012.
But look on the Brightside: Many communities have it much worse than you do!