Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Skaneateles Real Estate - The Weekly Update

I just love those statistics! Even though the sun is shining, there's a cooling breeze, the pond is gurgling out my door calling to me, I am here getting ready to make some sense of my weekly research. I suppose I could have other obsessions....

Currently there are 117 (there were 118 when I started this afternoon!) active listings in the Skaneateles area of the multiple listing service. The Village claims 22 of these. The numbers are the same as last week - but the houses have changed, I can assure you.

There are a few re-lists, but only three and two of them are waterfront - the high and low ends of waterfront. There's really something for everyone - a Village beauty in the heart of the town for mid-$600,000, waterfront new listings upwards of and spilling over and above the million dollar mark. There's also the highly sought after country property and a HUD listing for under 50K in the Jordan-Elbridge school district.

The very good news is that there are 10 - count 'em - 10 properties listed as under contract, but continue to show. Three of these are new - so things are beginning to move in the right direction! Then there are the 8 properties that are firmly under contract, do not show. Not to mention the 7 pending homes. Hooray! Within a few months, if the stars align, we should have another 25 closed houses.

We continue on the slow side in that category, but we added another house, an under 200K town home that closed within 5% of its list price, 7 months after listing. Last year there were 25 closed properties by this time, but only 16 in 2008. I see a fast finish to the year!

I was asked several times this week if the shortage of closings held for other towns. I hadn't looked recently, so I checked them out. Camillus is about par for last year, but at 50 far behind the 85 of 2008. As rough a year as that was for everyone, Camillus did extremely well. Marcellus' bad year was last year, so their 17 closings is the same as 2008 and bodes well. Poor Elbridge has only 5 closings, as compared to twice that last year and the year before. Onondaga has exactly the same as last year - 33 - which is 75% of 2008.

Since Onondaga is larger but still a suburb, I thought pricing might be significant. Last year 5 homes listed above $250,000 had closed by this time, as compared with 6 in 2009. In 2008, however, 10 had closed. In all three years the majority of these higher priced homes were new homes, just built or custom built. That's always the difficulty with existing homes - the new ones, if they are priced competitively, are more attractive. Generally value of the existing homes comes from closed developments, mature landscaping and established neighborhoods. And there's a great deal of value in those qualities.

Onondaga County turned out to prove the point. In 2008 by this time 1,105 homes had closed of which 123 were listed above that 250K mark. Last year and this year were comparable - 15% fewer sales, but the same proportion of higher end homes. But looking at the $400,000 level the tale is told - 8 this year, versus 27 last year and 28 the year before. People are being more cautious with their investments.

But for everyone who is buying a house, this is all good news. I saw a 4.8% 30 year fixed rate fly through my e-mail today. Price adjustments are being made on the selling end so people can buy. The challenge is getting people in to homes, and price is a potent weapon these days.

I feel fulfilled. I am going to stir Bob's leek soup and then catch the last of the evening sun!