Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

Here we go again! I am so excited each week to check the listings and see what's sold, what it sold for (this was a week!), and what is new on the market. Things are happening out there. I've switched from listing agent (it seems) to buyer's agent. Last year buyers were hard to come by - now they are everywhere!

Currently there are 139 activing listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. Remember - the "area" can include Cortland and Cayuga Counties as well as Onondaga. If you can so much as get a glimpse of the lake listings come on the market in "Skaneateles." People do not search "Scott" or "Homer" - they do look to Skaneateles to be all-inclusive.

There were 5 new listings this week - two of them are re-listed waterfronts, and there's a new one, also. In the village a home around $300,000 has been re-listed with a price reduction (lovely arch in the dining room, I might add) and a new one with fantastic lake views in the mid-$300,000s has come on. But the prize must go to the tiny waterfront - low $200,000s! Right on the water - call me!

Two village homes were marked contingent, both with histories over a year (in one case almost 3 years) of marketing. Both homes reduced their prices along the way but are still well above $500,000, the average price of a home in the Skaneateles area this year. The price reduction - and I know there are many of you out there asking this question - was in the neighborhood of 15% off the original list price. But we don't know yet the actual closed price.

Altogether there are 15 homes marked either pending or contingent. Of these, 5 are waterfront. That's a good thing, considering that only 3 waterfront properties have closed so far this year.

BUT! We now have 35 closed single family residences this year. This compares with only 18 (!) last year by this time and 32 in 2007. Lest we become complacent, however, in 2006 there were 45 closed homes by June 3rd. We have a ways to go to beat that, but I wouldn't be surprised if that number was the high of all times in Skaneateles. I'll check at some point which year produced the most closings - and postulate as to why!

There were two new closings this past week. The numbers are clear indicators of the practice that starting too high does not pay off. It also opens up the door to the age-old question of how to price unique homes.

House #1 suffered from the increased price of gas over the past year because it is located about 6 miles outside of the village. That's my guess, at least. Plus it had odd bedrooms which made it really a two bedroom home although the agent and owners promised more. The sale price was almost 25% less than the original list price - but the new owners got a great view!

House #2 - alack and alas! Again it was down the lake, has a great view, and is unique. It needed some work as did the other one, but it was much larger. It closed at 64% of its original price, and only 66% of its assessed value. Ouch! The price per square foot comes in at around $80 - not that you can calculate square footage with any real meaning in our market.

Does this mean you can offer that type of a reduced price on other homes? Not everything is overpriced, but everything is a function of time and desireability. Being close to or in the village is big now - things sell because there is very little need for a car and village prices have stayed competitive. Condition matters also - pristine and well-staged are keys. Underpromising and overdelivering helps, too. The old adage that you "can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear" rings true here. In 2006 maybe you could. Not now. And not with rates creeping up there - make your deals now - and that means both buyers and sellers!