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January Numbers Do Not Indicate The Market is Improving

I ran a bunch of statistical reports last night and today looking at 2009 info and what January’s numbers may indicate. Here’s what I came up with:

– January started off the year with the lowest amount of Pending Sales in 2 years. We’ve had so-so activity in the market the past 2 years and the January Pending Sales don’t indicate that people are rushing out to buy a home.

– Foreclosures in SLO County Sold through the MLS didn’t let up in January. In 2009, we had 60% of homes sold as non-foreclosures. In January, it dropped to 56%. REOs in 2009 were 28% and in January it dropped to 27% but Short Sale percentages, which were 12% of solds in 2009, jumped to 16% in January.

– While REOs bring down the median home price, Short Sales do too. In 2009, the median SLO County home price for REOs was $310,000. For Short Sales, it was $340,000. For Non-foreclosures it was $472,250. The overall SLO County median home price for 2009 was $400,000.

– Short Sale percentages also jumped in Santa Maria/Orcutt in 2009. In 2008, the percentage of homes sold as REOs was 64% but dropped to 52% in 2009. For Short Sales, it was 13% in 2008 and 21% in 2009. Non-foreclosures were 24% in 2008 and 27% in 2009.

– Home inventory rose during the month of January. Months of Inventory as of today for SLO County is at 10 months, up from 7.1 months at the beginning of last month. The last time it hit 10 or more months of inventory was May of last year. Orcutt and Santa Maria also saw their Months of Inventory rise to their highest level in a year.

– While inventory in many individual cities dropped as of the January 1st tally, many rebounded as of today. Arroyo Grande went from 134 properties to 161. Atascadero from 137 to 155. Morro Bay from 90 to 101. Orcutt from 165 to 184. Paso Robles from 337 to 359. San Luis Obispo from 151 to 176. And Santa Maria from 180 to 192. (see the inventory page on for more inventory info)

Also an FYI…the breakdown in types of SLO County residential properties in 2009 was identical to 2008 with 80% being stick-built, 7% condos, 4% PUDs, and 9% Manufactured/Mobile Homes.

While there are so many factors in play that could effect the market, the January numbers don’t point that a recovery is imminent. The percentage of foreclosures need to go down over multiple months before we can say a recovery has started, IMO.

Written by Keith Byrd - Go to Keith's Website/Profile