'80 Days' - Is this the bottom?As a kid, I read the book "Around the World in 80 Days" and was amazed at what could be accomplished in such a short span of time. With almost a full quarter of 2009 behind us, as of March 21, 2009, or 80 days into the year, we wanted to examine this year's data for each of our important markets, including Alamo, Blackhawk and Danville. This "80 Day" Review will include all properties sold between Jan. 1 and March 21 for both 2008 and 2009. Homes that transferred hands without a reported purchase price are included in the unit sales counts but are excluded from statistical analysis.
There are currently 147 homes listed as active pending and sold in Alamo. One hundred seventeen homes are listed as active and, encouragingly, 12 homes are listed as pending. Significantly more Alamo homes sold in 2009 than sold in the same time period in 2008. Sixteen homes sold in 2008 compared to 18 in 2009 for a 12.5 percent increase in unit sales. Average sales price increased 10 percent in the same year-to-year comparison moving up from $1,592,401 in '08 to $1,608,058 in '09. Price paid per square foot however did not follow suit and fell from $443 in '08 to $413 in the same '09 time period for a -7 percent decline. Alamo's current median price for sold listings stands at $1,245,000. (See chart below.)
There are currently 89 homes listed as active pending and sold in Blackhawk. Seventy-five are listed as active and five are pending sale. Unit sales in Blackhawk remained unchanged at nine homes sold. Average price declined significantly in 2009 slipping from $1,261,891 in 2008 to $1,118,500 in 2009 for a -13 percent average price decline. Average price paid per square foot for a Blackhawk home dropped from $394 per square foot from '08 to $332 paid in '09 for a -16 percent decline. Blackhawks' current median price for sold listings stands at $1,130,000 about 9 percent below Alamo's current median price.
Unit sales of homes in Danville decreased most significantly from 69 in 2008 to 60 in '09 for a -15 percent decline in unit sales. Average price declines were notably more for Danville than for either the Alamo or Blackhawk markets. Average price declined -14 percent falling from $$946,534 in 2008 to $810,081 in 2008. Price paid per square foot declined from $393 paid per square foot in 2008 to $333 per square foot in 2009 for -13 percent drop in price. Danville's current median price for sold listings stands at $742,500. An explanation for the difference between Danville and Alamo/Blackhawk would be the higher percentage of Condo and Townhome sales, which push the average prices lower.
On balance the start in 2009 seems to suggest a marked slowing in market declines if not the bottom and beginning of a turnaround. Unit sales numbers suggest a positive momentum, and Alamo's positive price gains could be the harbinger of better days ahead for our local housing market. Please keep reading our column and we will discover together what the future may have in store.
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Data presented in this column is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Contra Costa and Alameda Multiple Listing Service and other quoted sources. Joe and Nancy Combs, Remax and the MLS Service do not guarantee the accuracy of this information.