First Quarter, 1999
Local real estate is off to another great start this year. My recent conversations with top agents from San Francisco to Orange County indicate almost universal inventory shortages and strong Buyer demand.
The 1998 year-end statistics are complete. The number of homes offered for sale continued to decline to the lowest level in decades. The median price continued to rise to its highest level ever (largely, if not entirely, during during the first two-thirds of 1998). The average time on the market dropped to the shortest period since 1990:
-Number of Active Listings: 1,942 (down 1%)
-Number of Homes Sold: 1,301 (down 10%)
-Median Sale Price: $445,000 (up 17%)
-Average Days on Market: 106 (down 24%)
All of the good news for 1998 really came during the first two-thirds of the year. After the stock market tumbled, there were immediate repercussions in the local real estate market. The last third of 1998 was very similar to the early 1990's with Buyers being very cautious, and very few transactions occurring.
As the stock market has stabilized and regained its lost ground, the local real estate market has returned to an active Sellers' market (though not nearly so frenzied as late 1997/early 1998). I expect 1999 to be another good year for local real estate.