As we launch into the resolution stage of the post holiday season one cannot help but shake their head in wonder at what a difference a year can make. During 2008 the local real estate market entered into a remarkably sudden, yet long anticipated, recessionary phase that followed in the wake of an incredible decade long run.
The year began optimistically after the Pelham market had experienced another record breaking year in 2007. At $312,134, the MLS average single family house had exceeded $300,000 for the first time ever. Residential single family sales totaled an unprecedented 227 units. During the first quarter it seemed that the record pace would continue. Year-to-date residential single family sales at 40 units was at the same level as the first quarter of 2007 and the 12-Month average sale price at $310,831 was just marginally below the previous year-end figure.
However, by the second quarter a different story was beginning to unfold. Total unit sales for Apr.-June 2008 were 62 compared to 92 for Apr.-June 2007 resulting in a 22.7% drop in year-to-date unit sales. By the end of June 2008 the 12-Month average sale price had fallen 3.3% to $301,666. As we entered into September, the already decelerating local market situation was further compounded by the global stock market plunge. Although the Jan-Sept. 2008 year-to-date unit sales decrease had stabilized to a 17% decline, the 12-Month average sale price fell further to $298,817 representing a 4.3% drop in average price.
Nothing could have prepared us for the complete lack of consumer confidence that strangulated the real estate market in the fourth quarter of 2008. Total single family residential unit sales for Oct-Dec. dropped 43.6% reflecting 22 units sold compared to 39 during the same period in 2007. The final 2008 year end tally for Pelham was 178 single family residential MLS sales. This total represents a 21.6% decline in unit sales compared to the previous year. The year-end average sale price was $295,179 or 12.1% less than the mark achieved in 2007.
Yes indeed-what a difference a year can make. Many homeowners whose only experience of the market has been frenzied year upon year price increases may be looking towards 2009 with fear and trepidation. Those of us who have adapted to down markets in the past merely shrug our shoulders, and with a slightly melancholic sigh, remind everyone "that this too shall pass".