Third Quarter, 2004
The first half of 2004 was great for local real estate. The MLS reports 1235 sales
for the first half of 2004 vs. 996 during the same period last year. All areas and all
price ranges along the South Coast enjoyed vibrant sales and rising prices. Probably
the most dramatic change occurred in the estate market. So far this year there have
been 27 closed sales over $5,000,000 (compared to only 10 for all of 2003).
Although still low, interest rates have risen since the beginning of the year. The impact has been to shift many Buyers from fixed-rate to adjustable mortgages (allowing a lower initial payment on the loan). Activity on properties under a million dollars has slowed from the frenzied pace of spring. However, the estate market appears unfazed by the increase in rates.
Inventory levels continue to decline. There are only 706 active residential listings along the south coast (there were 818 at this time last year). I anticipate the number of sales to slow during the second half of the year (mostly because of low inventory levels), but prices should continue to rise. Expect dramatic increases in the
statistics for average sales prices as the estate market continues to outperform last year.