As suggested might be the case in my previous market report, the bump in April home sale numbers for Pickens County, Georgia, may be attributable more to a rush of buyers trying to get in ahead of the tax credit deadline than an improvement in market conditions . . . buyers that would otherwise have purchased a home in May. As a result, the number of homes sold in May came in at only eleven -- less than half the number sold in May 2009 (23).
With such a small number of homes sold, the average and median sale prices are obviously going to be skewed from what we would get from a larger sampling, but, since that's all we have, it's what we have to go on. The average close price was $224,905 (one pending sale yet too close not included). The median price was $187,500, in a very broad range from $42,300 to $575,000. Foreclosures and short sales accounted for more than half (55%) of these sales.
For June 2010, home sales in the Jasper GA area fared a little better, with 22 homes placed under contract or sold (up from 17 in June 2009). Average home sale price was $209,945 and median was $143,500. Distress sales of pre-foreclosures or bank-owned real estate made up 41% of homes sold.
The number of homes for sale in Pickens County GA at the time of this writing was 561, at an average list price of $324,094. Of these, 49, or roughly 8.5%, are listed as either short sales or bank REO's.
So what does it all mean? Unfortunately, the numbers are too inconsistent to make any assumptions or predictions. (I could, but I'd probably be wrong, along with the majority of other "forecasters".)
With sales down in March, up in April, down in May, up in June, and in all likelihood, another dip for July, the local real estate market here in Jasper is all over the place, making defining a "trend" difficult. Likewise, the price range of home sales is so broad as to identify a particular segment of the market as "strong" is hard to do. We are seeing more sales in the $300,000 - $600,000 range than we had been seeing previously, but predominantly in Big Canoe and some in Bent Tree. Outside of these two neighborhoods, a price point under $150,000 seems to be the sweet spot. This price spread explains the climb in average in sale price, without a corresponding change in the median sale price.
The much hoped for strengthening of sales based on low prices and interest rates has still failed to materialize, as broader economic concerns seem to be holding buyers back. So, for those looking to buy, opportunities still abound. For those looking to sell, patience and fortitude are going to be necessary for a while longer.
(All sales data obtained and compiled from First Multiple Listing Service records and is believed accurate, but is not warranted.)