The crisis in the U.S. financial markets has dominated the news over the last two weeks and rightfully so. Financial firms that have withstood the Depression, two world wars, and previous recessions often disappeared overnight.
According to the experts, the massive financial losses incurred by all of these financial institutions resulting in their ruination have been the direct result of "bad" mortgage loans and the national collapse of the real estate market.
As I have reported over the last several months, our local business leaders have been optimistic that Statesboro, although not immune, will weather the storm without the depth of impact that is being felt in other parts of the country. That is to be seen of course, but, a look at our local real estate market may be somewhat telling as many experts are saying that the real estate market is what took us down and the "righting" of the real estate market "ship" is what will turn the economy around.
I asked local realtor Shannon Grindler to provide me with up-to-date real estate sales numbers. Grindler serves as the managing broker of Coldwell Banker Tanner Realty in Statesboro and is the immediate past president of the Statesboro Board of Realtors.
According to Grindler, there have been 130 single family residential sales so far in the third quarter of this year (July, August, September 2008). Last year for the same time period there were 194.
There are 760 total residential listings through the Multiple Listing Service in Bulloch County at this time. Of those, 544 are single family residences. In August 2007, there were 535 single family residences listed. The number of single family residences on the market has not shot up since the same time period last year, however, not many are being built.
Which makes you wonder, how long are houses in Bulloch County sitting on the market. According to Grindler, for the 130 homes that have been sold in the third quarter of this year, the average time on the market was 161 days, or just over five months. Now, the national average for time on the market before being sold has skyrocketed to more than 10 months.
Are prices being lowered in Statesboro? Is that why time on the market seems to be less?
According to Grindler, pricing for the most part has remained stable.
"The list-to-sale ratio for the current sales is around 94 to 96 percent, which means that people negotiated four to six percent off of their listing price which is not unusual for this area," Grindler said. "I think people are waiting for the bottom to fall out which sounds good in theory, but, unfortunately most people don't have enough equity to sell their house for tons less than they paid for it. They'll keep it, rent it or give it to the bank before they have to bring $15,000 to the closing table."
It appears that if you want a deal on a house, you will need to go to a foreclosure sale on the courthouse steps. On a positive note, if the traditional real estate market is an indicator of our community's financial health, it appears that we are hanging in there. Let's just hope it stays that way.
Until next week, I bid you au revoir.
Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org