July San Antonio Realty Market Update
Here’s an excellent San Antonio realty market update as of July 18, 2009.
By Jennifer Hiller - San Antonio Express-News
San Antonio’s real estate market continues to look a lot like the standby Saturday night date of dinner at a chain restaurant followed by a movie — not exciting, but reassuringly predictable.
With the median price of an existing home at $149,800 for the first half of the year — 1.3 percent below the median sales price during the same period last year — “stable” has become the watchword for the local resale home market.
The number of sales has dropped 16 percent for the year, to 8,251, according to new sales data released Friday by the San Antonio Board of Realtors. But the inventory of homes for sale is holding steady, which has helped keep prices from moving much in either direction.
Travis Kessler, CEO of SABOR, said that so far, the market’s sales volume resembles 2003 — a time before the real estate market boomed on the strength of investor sales and exotic mortgage loans. “It looks like we could, if the trend continues, go back to a normal market for the San Antonio area,” Kessler said.
“Normal” would make the city one of the better real estate markets in the country.
Realtors have been monitoring short sales — distressed sales in which a lender agrees to take less money than is owed on a house — and foreclosures to see if the numbers start rising too high as a percentage of home sales.
So far for the year, 13 percent of the homes sold through the Multiple Listing Service had fallen into foreclosure and were owned by the lender.
“Even though we have short sales in our marketplace and foreclosures, those shouldn’t be a majority of the transactions. They are in other parts of the country,” Kessler said. “When it doesn’t control the market and isn’t the majority of the market, it’s a real strength for us.”
The number of existing homes on the market has been virtually unchanged for the past couple of months, at just more than 12,000. San Antonio has an 8.5-month supply of existing homes on the market, which means that if no new homes came onto the market, it would take eight months to sell all those homes at the current pace. The housing inventory has been hovering at the eight-month mark since last fall — a sign of a buyer’s market. A resale home market of 6.5 months of inventory is considered balanced between buyers and sellers.
The time it takes to sell a home has gone from 83 days this time last year to 97 days now — a number that’s an average across the market and varies by neighborhood.
Richard Zepeda, an agent with Keller Williams Heritage, said that with prices holding steady, the longer sales time has been the biggest market change for sellers to deal with this year. “We have to educate our sellers,” Zepeda said. “This is not four years ago. It takes time.”
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