Jackie Robertson, president of the Venice Area Board of Realtors, said even though there was a drop in new listings of single family homes and condominiums in February, sales were brisk and median sold prices rose.
“The main thing is things are looking better than they did in January,” Robertson said. “We’ve got more closed sales and our prices are up a little bit.”
Robertson referred to a monthly report put out by the VARB that showed single-family homes enjoyed 164 closed sales in January, which was up 26.2 percent from the 130 that closed in January, while the median sold price, $262,500, rose 4.4 percent from $250,500 the month before. Condos mirrored these gains, jumping 56 percent to 39 closed sales in February as opposed to 25 in January, while the median sold price rose 9.5 percent to $185,000 from $169,000 the previous month.
The only noticeable drop off was in new listings. Single-family homes fell 26.9 percent to 274 in February as opposed to 375 in January. Condos followed suit, with a 25.5 drop in new listings to 76 in February compared to 102 the month before.
“I attribute that to the fact that not as many people may have decided to put their homes on the market,” Robertson said. “Due to so many closed sales, some of the inventory went — although we now have more active listings than we did.”
She added prices are beginning to level out, which indicates what she calls a balanced market.
“In a balanced market, neither the buyer nor the seller has an advantage,” she said. “Once you reach six months of inventory, which is pretty much where we are now, you’re in a balanced market. And prices are leveling because there still may be some uncertainty out there,” she said. “I think because we have so many homes on the market.”
Robertson’s numbers bore her out. Active listings for single-family homes in February topped out at 928 — up from 913 in January — and condos followed suit at 275, an increase from 238 the month before.
“If no new homes come on the market, it would currently take 5.65 months to sell our current inventory of single-family homes and 7.05 months to sell our current inventory of condos,” she said. She arrived at those numbers by dividing active listings by closed sales.
Robertson added that the average days on the market are also rising. In February, single-family homes stood at 83 for DOM while condos were at 82. These are both higher numbers than in January (78 and 68, respectively).
“From a buyer’s perspective, there’s more to choose from,” she said. “As a result, some sellers might reduce their prices a bit while others might choose to hold fast, especially if they don’t have an immediate need to sell. The sweet spot price we’re seeing right now in single-family homes is in the $200,000-$250,000 range. A lot of people are looking for that range and currently there are 186 homes available in that range.
Robertson says activity likely won’t slow down.
“I’ll tell you though, personally I’ve seen over the last two years that our summers have been as busy as the winters,” she said. “We haven’t seen the big drop at the end of March that we once did. People are house hunting in the summer now, as well.”