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Cheer up, things could be worse

by Kim Cooper & Special to
| December 19, 2010 8:00 PM

So the old saying goes. "And then I cheered up and sure enough, things got worse," said the curmudgeon. But things don't appear to be getting worse in our real estate market.

The Coeur d'Alene Multiple Listing Service has released the fruits of their labors and provided us with an interesting analysis of our market. As we all know the federal tax credits for home buyers buoyed the market early in the year which gave us a good start. Now, as we near the end of the year, it is with some trepidation that we anticipate the monthly stats.

Although November will not go down in history as a stellar month for sales it does remind us that the market is stabilizing. In fact, we are still ahead of 2009 as we have been most of the year, although not by quite as much.

Our overall residential totals - all residential types over the entire MLS area - at the end of November, show our number of sales exceeding 2009 by 7.4 percent. This translates to more than $27 million in increased sales volume over last year or a 5.2 percent increase in revenue.

Our overall average price continues to lag behind 2009 which was behind 2008 which was behind 2007, but instead of double digit drops in prices, November stats show a drop in average price of a modest 2.1 percent.

Some categories continue to surprise us. Once again, homes on acreage lead in appreciation and volume increases. Statistics show a rise from 280 sales in this category last year, to 407 this year, or an increase of 45 percent. The average price in this category is up 3 percent from a 2009 average of $284,594 to $291,744. The curmudgeon will say, "that's not much," but try telling that to a seller who realized a $7,000 gain.

Another spot where sellers are relieved is in the sale of secondary waterfront properties. We sold 19 percent more of this type so far this year and we have sold them at prices that, on average, exceed 2009 prices by 7 percent.

Although our other categories show declines in prices consistent with recent trends, our single family homes on less than an acre show a decrease of only one percent over last November's total sales.

Interest continues to be strong in condo and townhouse sales, up 39 percent with an average price 6 percent lower than last year. Waterfront property sales surged past 2009 totals by 21 percent, an amount equal to the average price decline (21 percent). We think this demonstrates the reality that any real estate is worth what someone is willing to pay and if you price it right, it will sell.

Our inventory continues to decline too. Our November listings for single family homes are now at a level that is nearly 9 percent below last year at this time. When we look at total listings - all types - we see we have 4 percent fewer than last year. Something is obviously happening and that something is that real estate is selling, just as it always has.

So cheer up already! And have a terrific holiday!

For a safe trip home, call a Realtor. Call your Realtor or visit www.cdarealtors.com to search properties on the Multiple Listing Service or to find a Realtor member who will represent your best interests.

Kim Cooper is a real estate broker, Realtor and the spokesman for the Coeur d'Alene Association of Realtors. Kim and the association invite your feedback and input for this column. You may contact them by writing to the Coeur d'Alene Association of Realtors, 409 W. Neider, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83815 or by calling (208) 667-0664 with your questions or commentary.

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