Monday Market Memo for 3/10/08

Wasilla Real Estate News market statistics for the week of March 3–10, 2008.  These statistics include the whole Matanuska-Susitna Borough, including Wasilla, Palmer,Houston, Sutton, Willow, Talkeetna and the rest of the outlying areas.

However, most of the real estate activity is in Wasilla and Palmer.

Average Price DOM
New 51 $274,172 .
Total Active 697 273,998 151
Pending 40 $217,448 89
Closed 18 $262,239 126

As the chart shows, we had more new listings this past week than at any time since the beginning of the year.  The spring rush has started.   We should see many more new listings come on the market in the next couple months.

We also had the most pendings for the year this past week.  For that reason, our total inventory only grew by five.  Our absorption rate remains pretty steady.  In fact if we were to keep the average amount of pendings at 40 per month, we would soon be in a sellers market again.

We only had 18 closings because these are homes that went into contract during the slower month of February.  We should see the closings soon come up close to the pending number.

Buyers should pay attention to the fact that the total inventory is down from last year, sales are steady so I don’t expect to see much of a drop in house prices.  Houses over $300,000 are still selling slower than and they have to be competitively priced to sell.

I attended an Alaska Housing Finance Corporation seminar this past week at the Lake Lucille Inn.  It was an interesting meeting.  The consensus was that values for the past year increased in the Valley by about 2%.  The real estate market was still healthy in Mat-Su with a steady market. 

The outlook for the 2008 appears to be fairly solid, there are several large projects that are bringing more people into the valley.  The Target store, a new 1,500 person prison and other smaller business show that the Valley continues to grow. 

In fact, the vacancy rate for apartments is only 3%.  That means the rental market is basically at capacity.  As the valley continues to grow, it will likely need more places for these renters to stay.

Jess Hall, of Hall Quality Homes, spoke at the seminar.  His business is still running at close to capacity because of his foresight in purchasing land for development in central areas.  He mentioned that housing starts are running at about 50% of what they were in 2005.  He expects that to continue and feels that is a healthy rate of new housing.  Construction costs are increasing and he expects new construction prices to increase by summer to match the cost of cement, copper, and all the other materials. 

Interest rates remain low.  They are as low as they have been for the past 40 years.  We have become used to the rates in the 6% range, but many of us in the industry remember the days of 12% mortgages only too well.  I have a copy of an article somewhere write during those days that said we will never again see single digit mortgage rates. 

If you would like a copy of my motivated sellers list, read this post and drop me a line.