Three quarters of the year have nearly passed, and realtors, sellers and buyers continue to be optimistic about the real estate market at the lake.
Realtors are excited about the continued trend of increased transactions, sellers are getting showings and contracts, and buyers are still finding great deals and low interest rates, according to former Bagnell Dam Board of Realtors president Karie Jacobs.
Activity in all property types — residential, condo, lots/land, commercial, and farms — show that units sold through Aug. 31 were 1,644 compared to 2012 sales of 1,434 and 2011 sales of 1,253.
The units closed in 2013 show significant increases in sales, but are still well below the sales reported in 2005 before the economic decline. In that year, there were 2,765 units sold between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 and 4,125 transactions for the entire year.
“It is obvious that while on the right path we have a long time to go before we fully recover,” Jacobs said. “Concerns about having a real estate “bubble” at the lake at this time are unfounded.”
However, there are areas of the lake and price ranges that are recovering at a much slower pace than others, according to Jacobs.
Lakefront sales between $300,000 and $500,000 have had less activity. She believes part of that is the conservative mindset of consumers dialing back their debt and looking for what they perceive as a deal by purchasing a place on the lake for as little as possible. Purchasers are increasing cash transactions and making larger down payments to achieve lower debt.
Lakefront home sales for the time period are relatively stable, but down slightly from 2012.
Transactions in 2013 are 439 closed units compared to 2012 where there were 450 closed lakefront homes. It is noteworthy that while transactions were down slightly, the sales volume was up 10 percent to $102,973,262 from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31. Luxury homes over $1 million are showing increases additionally with 13 units sold in 2013, up from seven units in 2012.
The sales volume has doubled in this period to $18,435,000.
There have been several surprises in sales numbers at the lake that support the increase in total sales.
Homes that are off the lake have shown strong increases in units to 524 units sold in 2013. The increase is from 2012 sales of 461 and 2011 sales of 419.
This trend will continue as the employment base stabilizes and grows at the Lake. The new businesses at the lake have provided a verifiable income base for families.
The average sale price of single-family homes off the lake for this period is $127,791, which is 94 percent of the list price. The median selling price is lower at $105,000 as first-time homebuyers move into the off-lake market. This trend is expected to continue with the growth at the lake, according to Jacobs.
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Condo sales are another bright spot in the sales reports.
The sale of new condos is up from 34 units in 2012 to 43 units in 2013. Investors are jumping in and restarting projects that had financial challenges in the past.
Resale condos (previously owned) also reflect increased activity from 260 units in 2011 to 324 in 2012, and now 359 sales through Aug. 31 of 2013.
The average list-to-sale price has increased slightly lakewide to 95.2 percent.
Builders are back in the market and provide another area of recovery at the lake. But optimism needs to be tempered with the sales being about 25 percent of what they were before the real estate bubble, Jacobs pointed out.
Lakefront and non-lake lots and land are showing a strong increase in units. Lakefront sales are 52 units compared to last year’s 34 units. Non-lake property is 116 units sold through the end of August compared to same period last year of 76.
Commercial statistics from the Multiple Listing Service show an increase from 22 to 53 transactions through Aug. 31.
The positive numbers show the growth at the lake, but they are only an indicator of lake growth since many of the commercial transaction are not reported in the MLS system.
Foreclosure sales at the lake so far are 232 units in 2013, which is about 14 percent of the market compared to 16 percent of the sales in 2012 and 20 percent in 2011.
It is interesting to note, Jacobs says, that while the foreclosures represented a small number of the active listings at any given time they pulled a significant number of the contracts for the time periods.
“The decrease in foreclosure sales is another indicator that we are continuing on the road to recovery,” she said.
Interest rates have increased slightly but continue to be low. “Realtors are excited about the continued four-year trend of increased transactions and increased sales volume,” Jacobs said. “Sellers are getting showings and at times getting multiple contracts. Buyers are still finding great deals and reasonable inventory levels and low interest rates. Real estate at the lake is continuing to provide recovery at the lake,” she explained.
Karie Jacobs has been a reliable resource for real estate information since leaving her post as BDAR President. Jacobs is currently with Re/Max Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach.