I went to a great presentation this week given by Jeff McClellan of First National Bank here in Columbia, MO. He spoke a great deal regarding the national economy and the Columbia economy. As we know, the national news media reports about how terrible and devestating the real estate market it and that it has been the downfall of the financial markets. What we do know is that real estate is local, so yes, there are areas of this country that have been very very hard hit by the devaluation of homes and increased foreclosure rates.
So what is going on in the Columbia housing market? Well, regarding foreclosures... forclosures are up from last year by about 34%. Boy that sounds like a horrible number. But the foreclosure rate in Boone County is actually only about 1/2% of all homes, as opposed to 7% in Ft. Myers FL which reports one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. So that is great news actually. Only 1/2% of homes are in foreclosure. Though if you are looking for a market with great foreclosure deals Boone County may not be the one you want to try.
What is some other good information about the Columbia economy? The National unemployment rate for September stood at 6.1%, in Columbia we are at that highest rate in years -- Again sounds really bad doesn't it. That rate is about 3.5% nearly 1/2 of the national average. That's great.
Another bad/good number. Home sales in Boone County and in particular Columbia are down approximatley 20% from last year. Again, sounds bad. The good number -- Prices are actually INCREASING -- for example, Last September average sale price was 180,083, this year it was 198,813. Thats an increase on the average sale price of $18,000. The median sale price INCREASE approximately $17,000 from 153,500 to 170,000 this September.
All in all the Columbia housing market remains strong and stable. Are there homes that are overpriced, in foreclosure, up for short sales, are their motivated sellers, the answer to all those questions is yes. But in Columbia, most homes do end up going for about 97% of asking price. Interest rates today are the same as they were in Dec of 2007 and June 2006 so with the low interest rates still available today is a great day to buy.