A healthier market

According to Hanley Wood, a real estate research firm, financial institutions have sold more single-family homes than builders have since the financial downturn. The number of homes sold by banks, however, is decreasing as the economy improves. There are eight major metropolitan areas where banks are selling more than 20% of homes available for sale.

Approximately 74,000 new single-family homes sold in the first quarter of this year. Banks sold about double that number during the same period. The Hanley Wood statistics indicate that in four of the 20 major metropolitan areas (Dallas, Houston, Denver and the District of Columbia) new-home builders are selling more houses than are financial institutions.

Newly constructed home sales started trending up in 2011 and have been gradually increasing — although they are not near the levels prior to the economic downturn.

Home sales by banks have been declining for more than two years indicating the housing market is getting healthier. Across the country, approximately 8% of homes sales in the first quarter were by builders compared to 17% by banks.

In general, home sales have slowed in recent months, which can be attributed to reductions in distressed home sales volume. Also, more people are buying homes to live in as opposed to investors purchasing and renting them.

A word of caution to homeowners wishing to sell their properties, though. Don’t select the Realtor proposing the higher list price. Homes listed higher in their price range will slow the real estate market by languishing on the market and will sell for less than if they had been priced at market value. The Greenwich Multiple Exchange statistics support this contention.

Pending home sales increased slightly in April, attributed to gains in the Northeast and the Midwest, according to the National Association of Realtors. The pending home sales index is a future looking indicator based on contract signings. Overall, pending home sales nationwide increased 0.4% in April but remain 9.2% below year ago levels. In the Northeast, pending home sales increased 0.6%, in the Midwest  they increased 5%, in the South they decreased 0.6% and in the West they decreased 2.9%.

As a result of lower sales activity in the first quarter due to weather, the National Association of Realtors is forecasting sales to be lower this year than 2013. However, whether that comes true or not remains to be seen as the spring market has been delayed in areas that include towns like Greenwich.

More homes are coming on the market and there is pent up demand. Realtors in town are anticipating a highly active summer market since the spring market was delayed. More homes are coming on the market and buyers are prepared to perform.

Homes that are turnkey or renovated, new and appropriately priced are going quickly after listed. Pricing remains key to the success of real estate markets even those in locations that are sought after by buyers.

If a home isn’t getting showings or offers, the price needs to be reduced to attract serious buyers.


Mary Ann Clark is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker at 177 West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich. Questions or comments may be emailed to [email protected].com.

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