First quarter unit sales for Jackson Hole real estate will be down as much as 16 percent and sales volume nearly 40 percent compared to 2011, according to preliminary figures from Teton County Multiple Listing Service. This marks just the second quarter in the last 10 to see a decrease in year-over-year sales.
March marks the third consecutive month reported sales trailed the previous year, with 25 sales for $26.3 million compared to 32 units sold for $34 million in volume in 2011.
So what gives? After a strong Q4 2011, in which Teton County enjoyed a 37 percent increase in unit sales over 2010, it’s been easy to explain lagging numbers in January and February as slower but still solid. And March will probably see a few more closings added in the next few days to close the gap between this year and last.
Nonetheless, the trend has been toward flat unit sales growth and lower sales volumes and average sales prices. Is this the “new normal?” Probably, with reasons including:
- After the historical lows of 2009, it has been easy in recent quarters to post comparatively impressive gains. Q1 2011, for example, was one of the strongest three-month periods in recent years with a 57 percent increase year over year. Exceeding 2011 in 2012 would have required a very strong market.
- The peak of the distressed inventory to hit the market in recent years has passed. Short sales and REO properties remain a big part of the inventory, but they are fewer and more concentrated at the lower end of the inventory.
- The market has yet to rebound at the lower end. Prices have stabilized in large part, but declining or stagnant values are doing nothing to increase the supply of equity sellers.
- More and more potential buyers are beginning to explore the process. I am seeing it personally and within my brokerage. Lower supply and a lending environment that remains very restrictive, however, will temper this rise in demand.
- As of the first of the year, inventory priced below $3 million is down 13 percent.
There are 53 pending properties in Teton County MLS, including four building sites, indicating a continuation of steady unit sales. Amazingly, however, the median price of these pending listings is $399,000 with 34 of them listed below $500,000, which will also perpetuate the trend of lower sales volume.
One large caveat, however (which is standard for Jackson Hole real estate – just like the weather around here the extremes can fluctuate wildly from month to month), is the current list of pending properties does not include a large land sale not yet reported as under contract that will close in late April.
But that is what makes following Jackson Hole real estate so darned interesting! Contact me for personalized, real-time market research aimed at achieving your goals.