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Market Summary for the Beginning of September

Starting with the basic ARMLS numbers for September 1, 2018 and comparing them with September 1, 2017 for all areas & types:

  • Active Listings (excluding UCB): 16,222 versus 17,486 last year - down 7.2% - but up 3.4% from 15,686 last month

  • Active Listings (including UCB): 19,831 versus 21,355 last year - down 7.1% - but up 2.1% compared with 19,415 last month

  • Pending Listings: 5,262 versus 6,002 last year - down 12.3% - and down 6.9% from 5,655 last month

  • Under Contract Listings (including Pending, CCBS & UCB): 8,871 versus 9,871 last year - down 10.1% - and down 5.5% from 9,384 last month

  • Monthly Sales: 8,230 versus 8,252 last year - down 0.3% - and down 3.7% from 8,548 last month

  • Monthly Average Sales Price per Sq. Ft.: $161.10 versus $149.47 last year - up 7.8% - and up 0.2% from $160.76 last month

  • Monthly Median Sales Price: $262,000 versus $245,000 last year - up 6.5% - but down 1.1% from $265,000 last month

The supply of active listings without a contract rose 3.4% during the month of August, while total active listings increased by 2.1%. These are bigger increases than we saw in August 2017 so there has been a slight improvement in supply even though it remains very low by normal standards.

The count of under contract listings continues to weaken relative to the last 3 years and indicates a gradual reduction in demand. Demand at the low-end of the market cannot be satisfied as the number of available homes below $250,000 is far too low. With supply moving up a little and demand down a little, it is not a surprise to see the Cromford® Market Index lower than last month. It still remains at a significantly elevated level relative to normal, however, and so we are in a strong seller's market.

August 2018 and August 2017 both had the maximum 23 working days so the sales counts are comparable without adjustment. The 2018 sales count is just a shade lower than 2017 which again hints at a tiny downward trend in demand.

New listing counts were slightly lower than last year, so the market is actually a bit smaller in unit counts, both from a supply and a demand perspective. This might be a problem for the 3% additional agents working the territory, except that prices rose around 8% so dollar volume is still looking very strong and growing faster than agent numbers. In fact 2018 is likely to outperform every previous year in ARMLS dollar volume, even 2005, the peak of the bubble. The main cause of this is that a far higher percentage of sales are going through the MLS compared with 2005 which saw over 40% of home sales completed outside the MLS.

Pricing is behaving normally for a seller's market with 3Q average and median prices lower than 2Q. We still expect 4Q to hit the high point for the year as any weakness in demand is compensated for by long-term shortages in supply.

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