The State of the Market – September 2008 (Renamed: A Slow And Steady Approach)

August has come and gone, and September has as well.  The leaves are changing … it's one of my favoritest (can I say that?  Sure I can) times of the year here in the New River Valley.  September has NOT been nice to the stock market, however – there's no secret there, we've passed a bill with economic implications that are really beyond comprehension to try and stabilize it, and oh yea, there's a presidential election going on as well.  Wondering how it all effects housing?  My best guesses here, here, here and here.  As I said last month however:

"a slow, steady and calculated approach
to the market is going to be important as we move forward towards 2009."

I believe that, more than ever.  If you look at the first half of the year you'll see prices being soft during a time of year that's typically a much stronger market, and then as we've gotten further into the fall that trend has continued.  According to figures pulled from the New River Valley MLS, volume across the entire New River Valley (which my absorption rate statistics does not cover in its' entirety) is down about 14% from this time last year, the average sold price is down about 11% from this time last year, but the list to sale ratio is 96.3% (compared to 96.2% last year).  That tells me that while prices are down from this time last year, sellers are pushing for lower list prices as well – this is a good strategy.  In a market that's soft, don't rely on the price your neighbor got six months ago.  Stay ahead of the knife and price it right the first time.  One more cautionary tale is for best knife sharpener, and I mentioned it last month … if you are in an Adjustable Rate Mortgage, and your rate adjusts or expires at anytime in 2009, please contact me immediately.  There are serious implications for many homeowners who will find their payments jumping by hundreds of dollars a month, let's find a local lender who can act quickly to help you refinance and keep your payments low.

When it comes to absorption rates, we're looking at how long it would take to sell the existing
residential inventory in a particular area, if nothing else came on the
market until supply was exhausted.  Anything over 5 months is typically
a buyers' market, and anything less than 5 months is typically a
seller's market.

Area # of Active Properties   # of Sold Properties
  Absorption Rate 
  Buyer/Seller Market 
Blacksburg 206 19 10.84 Months Buyer
Christiansburg 272 17 16.00 Months Buyer
Montgomery County 68 8 8.50 Months Buyer
Floyd County 127 2 63.50 Months Buyer
Giles County 60 8 7.50 Months Buyer
Pulaski 101 5 20.20 Months Buyer
Dublin 116 7 16.57 Months Buyer
Radford 79 7 11.29 Months Buyer

A full and complete shift into a buyers' market through September, which again is no surprise, it's part of the cycle.  Certainly, news from Wall Street and an election are playing into this, as well as just the typical slow down that happens every year about this time.  I was asked on Monday if I was worried about my job.  Let me be clear … NO.  People are going to buy and sell during turbulent times.  The market will be different, it will be rocky at times, but if I know how to navigate it and put the pieces in place, it all works out in the end.  Let me repeat – a slow, steady and calculated approach
to the market is going to be important as we move forward towards 2009.

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