St. Pete, Pinellas real estate report for February: Continued decline in active inventory

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The first month of 2012 saw a continued decline in active inventory. Compared to 2011, there was an overall decrease of 33%, a decrease of 27% on non-distressed properties, and a decrease of 48% on short sales and foreclosures. Foreclosures alone are down 56% from last January.

Pending contracts are starting out strong, up 22% from last January. Even though 72% of those are for distressed properties, this can be attributed to the inordinate amount of time it takes to close a short sale. Of the 1,811 contracts written last month, 52% were non-distressed, 36% were short sales and 12% were bank owned.

Sales are on the rise by a modest 2% from a year ago but 62% of them were non-distressed properties. A short sale is averaging 266 days on the market before closing while a non-distressed home is closing within 147 days, on average.

Cash buyers are on the rise again.  In December of 2011, cash buyers accounted for 59% of the market; this was one of the lowest rates of cash buyers all year. However, it looks as though cash buyers may be on the increase again, as it jumped 5% in January to 64%. Currently this is only month over month and not a long term trend. Keep an eye on February and March numbers to see if the trend continues.

Median sales prices are also starting to rise. With the severe decrease in listings over the last several months it is good to finally see prices rising as there is more competition in the market.  Single family median sales prices were up from $100,000 to $120,000 from January 2011 to January 2012.  Condo median sales prices rose from $75,000 to $88,000 during that same time frame. The overall residential real estate market prices rose from $89,000 to $109,000 from January 2011 to January 2012.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.