2010 report: Home sales climb as prices slide | RecordCourier.com

2010 report: Home sales climb as prices slide

by Scott Neuffer

More houses were sold in Carson Valley in 2010 than in the previous three years, although the average sales price hit a five-year low, according to a market report published by John Fisher, broker/owner of Re/Max Realty Affiliates in Gardnerville.

In 2010, approximately 597 single-family residences were sold in the Valley at an average sales price of $253,000. In 2009, approximately 548 houses were sold at an average price of $295,000.

In 2008, sales totaled 462, the lowest number in the last five years, although the average sales price was $336,000. In 2007, approximately 494 houses sold at an average price of $411,000. Before the recession, 608 houses were sold in 2006 at an average price of $454,000.

Fisher noted that the rise of total sales last year was commensurate with a rise of distressed sales.

“Of the SFR sales in 2010, (approximately) 25.5 percent were bank-owned and 20 percent were short sales,” he reported. “So, over 45 percent of the market is classified as ‘distressed sales.'”

In comparison, Fisher reported that distressed sales accounted for a little more than 42 percent of the market in 2009, with bank-owned sales making up about 28 percent and short sales about 14 percent. In 2008, distressed sales were less prevalent: bank-owned sales accounted for about 22 percent of the market, and short sales only about 3.75 percent.

“Transactions are increasing pretty steadily, and both the Realtors and the lenders are figuring out the short sale process,” Fisher said. “Depending on who you listen to, most banks expect short sales to peak in 2011 and taper down in the following years.”

According to the report, the commercial market got a nice bump last year from the $5.2 million sale of the North Sails building. The total number of units sold in 2010 was only seven, but the average sales prices was about $1.2 million, compared to the average price of $595,000 in 2009 when eight commercial units were sold.

In 2008, total commercial sales reached a five-year low with only three commercial units purchased, though the average sales price was high at roughly $1.3 million. In 2007, approximately eight units were sold at an average price of $776,000. In 2006, commercial sales totaled 13 units at an average price of $811,000.

Sales of vacant land also rose from 18 parcels in 2009 to 42 parcels in 2010. But again, the average sales price dropped in one year from $179,000 to $106,005. Totals for both years are still far from the 2006 peak of 106 parcels sold at an average price of $635,000. However, Fisher explained the price in 2006 was high due to a $40 million purchase of development land.

Sales of multifamily units seem to be rebounding as well, at least from 2009.

In 2006, approximately 24 multifamily units sold at an average price of $579,000. With the recession, that number quickly fell to a new low in 2009 when only one unit sold for $420,000.

Last year, however, total sales jumped to nine multifamily units at an average price of $208,000.

Fisher expects 2011 to be similar in terms of distressed sales.

“Hopefully, going forward, things will settle down to some kind of normalcy,” he said. “In my personal opinion, we might start to see short sales and bank-owned sales affecting the middle- and upper-end properties.”

Because of economic conditions, Fisher believes the market has overcorrected as much as 20 percent.

“You can go and buy a house for $150,000, and your payments are less than what it would cost to rent it,” he said. “I don’t see us shooting back up real fast, but I wouldn’t be surprised if over the next three years we see a 20-percent gain. We’re really starting to pick through what’s left, so to speak.”

Fisher said interest rates are still at an all-time low.

“They’re as low as they’ve been in the last 50 years. Combine that with prices,” he said. “For someone who wants to stick around here, there is good opportunity.”