An Executive Overview as April Begins:
Sales Triple, Growing Inventory, Dollars Static
Let’s work backwards
Each month I end my market report with prognostications of what is very likely going to happen in the coming weeks and months. It’s not hard to do if you’re decent with numbers, have been paying close attention and, most importantly, have done your homework. I have been doing that consistently, month in and month out for years in Trilogy. One develops a sixth sense when their passion is practiced all day, every day and they’ve been paying close attention for over a decade.
For the last couple of months, I’ve been predicting that the first couple Sellers in each category of home would do very well and after that, prices would level or fall. It’s been happening. Not to be the bearer of bad news, however, if you’ve been waiting for the peak of the market, you’ve already lost $20K on a $700K house and you’ve missed it. The slight waterfall has begun with many floor plans, unless your home and lot are exceptional. The good news is pricing is still going up where you’re headed; to warmer weather. That means, if inevitably you’re making a move; the sooner the better because pricing is uncertain in Trilogy and certainly rising in most of the country. As I’ve mentioned before, Trilogy peaked early. It’s a niche thing. The average sales price for all closed homes in 2014 is about $608,000; For April sales it dropped to about $552,000 even though sales tripled month over month.
We apologize for this in-depth report not being out on the first of the month. We refuse to serve our wine before it’s time. There’s a difference between a “Newsletter” you receive on the first and an actual “Market Report” you receive when the research and analysis has been thoroughly completed. These stats are as of May 1st so some of the statuses may have changed from available to pending or pending to sold. Others may be on the market now. We’ll report quicker next month. It’s important to keep this information in monthly increments for accurate month over month reporting. Nine homes were sold in Trilogy during April, tripling March. Closed sales included:
Original Asking Price
Days on Market
|Hemlock||$725,000||$700,000||12 – Estate Sale|
*Homes in bold; the Elephant’s work. Overall sales averaged 30 days on market. If you take out the one catastrophe at 170 days, the average time from a home being available to becoming legally spoken for was 12.5 days. The Elephant’s sales sold in under half the time.
The Standout Number; New Homes under Contract!
23 homes are pending as of months end. That compares with 19 a month ago. Nine of them were still going through the home inspection stage on May Day. Here are the pending sales:
Days on Market
|Chelan||$359,000||57 (ARCH Home)|
|Hemlock||$725,000||7 Way underpriced!!!|
|Hemlock||$807,000||18 Golf Course Home|
|Madison||$479,000||2 Backed to Novelty|
|Oakwood||$749,950||2 Under Priced?|
|Orchard||$450,000||2 Highest Sale Price in Years|
|Orchard||$418,950||62 Attached on two sides|
|Washington||$549,900||25 Shea Homes Last Washington|
*Home in bold; the Elephant’s work. Reflective of higher priced homes just not moving quickly, check out this stat. In March of this year, the average price of a Trilogy home reaching a meeting of the minds between buyer and seller was about $620K; for April it’s over $100k less at $518K. This supports my report for last month that the higher end homes are simply priced too high based on ballyhoo or wishful thinking! The wisest of real estate brokers cannot spend a huge slice of the year elsewhere “living la vida loca” and come home thinking they can go back to work and blow the roof off of pricing. Every seller thinks their house is the absolute best and candidly, it’s rarely true. There’s Trilogy broker whose average listing has been on the market over 90 days and the majority of their listings have suffered priced drops. These are no small drops ranging from 5% to as much as 20%. Maybe this was the home owner’s plan but I doubt it was every home owner’s plan that has been forced to lower their asking price.
FYI, the comments to the side may be fact or simply my opinion. It’s a very educated opinion when I make it and I hate to see good people throw away perfectly good money. The Hemlock on the golf course for $725K was adjacent to the Hemlock I marketed on the same green for $779,950, one of two of the highest priced homes to close escrow in 2014. I sleep well knowing my team did our very best for our sellers.
As of May 1st there were 21 mostly high end homes available for sale. A dozen were priced over $700K with the remaining nine asking under $620K. In March, the average days on market for a non-sold home were 37. In April it’s 51. That number is skewed by Shea’s still lagging final new construction spec-house which has been on the market over a year and has dropped its price over one hundred thousand dollars! I think the old’, “Let’s raise the price a thousand dollars every month until it sells” idea didn’t work out so well. Notwithstanding, let’s take the spec house out of the equation and the other homes for sale have been waiting for an offer for about 33 days on average. That average was 19 days last month.
Let’s separate the upper and lower ends and the story is clear. Removing the dormant spec house, homes over $700K have been on the market an average of over six weeks, homes below $620K, under three weeks. Lately, the lower the asking price, the faster the sale seems to be the trend. The bottom line is high end homes in Trilogy are not continuing to rise. The ceiling is the ceiling so, if you’re thinking of selling, now is the time, not next year, not next month and not even next week in some cases. Hopefully you’ve done well and I think it’s as good as it’s going to get.
What does this mean? The numbers tell me that less expensive homes are selling faster than even appropriately priced upper end homes. The middle range has remained static at best. Buyers are being picky and, if you are on a busy street, below a wall or lacking shine, don’t expect multiple offers. Do properly prepare your property and then price it on the money. There is a buyer for every situation and this is the fool-proof way to maximize profits and minimize stress. Trying for the moon will ultimately end you up at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Take a look. Here’s what’s currently available.
Days on Market
|Alder||$825,000||3||I say too high for a non-golf course two story.|
|Bainbridge||$609,800||31||Nice house on greenbelt|
|Chelan – ARCH Home||$318,691||63||Backs to tall wall|
|Chelan – ARCH Home||$385,000||New||Backs to a tall wall|
|Hemlock||$671,900||32||Lots of Golf Ball Dings|
|Hemlock||$779,000||34||Mtn. View, Built 2010. Price drop from $819K|
|Hemlock*||$739,000||62||Priced competitively after an $11K drop.|
|Maple||$845,000||46||Golf Course, built 2011. Price drop from $890K.|
|Maryhill||$849,950||48||Price drop from $875K|
|Maryhill||$920K||61||Dropped $20K. Nice corner greenbelt.|
|Monticello||$875,000||19||Price drop from $949,950.|
|Monticello||$895,000||368||Shea’s last Spec House down from $999K.|
|Townsend||$398,000||14||On a busy street, priced well & should go soon.|
|Union – ARCH Home||$419,000||3||Backs to busy street|
|Vashon||$599,850||48||Seems to be priced like the larger Bainbridge.|
*Home in bold; the Elephant’s lone listing. Why? Every other listing we have in and out of Trilogy has either sold or is pending the close of escrow; all of them prepared and presented the same way, regardless of price, it’s a passion and a promise. Our average listing in Trilogy for 2014 has sold in less than six days, the majority of them full-price and our sellers are ecstatic. Serving is the reason; not selling. They were priced as high as we could get them; some of them the highest realized price in years for their floor plan.
Starting anew can involve sacrifice…
Many have really enjoyed the resort lifestyle but are just not settled on where they’re going to live. Most know the community; they just haven’t secured the residence. They’ve come to the conclusion they better move fast if they’re really going to be able to afford where they want to spend the next five or 10 years. Literally, a week or two can make a five figure difference in your portfolio if you are selling and buying. I can share more than one story of homes delaying getting on the market for one reason or the other. It’s not because they didn’t want to sell but simply analyzed too much or had too many repairs to make before they were ready. It’s just the way the cookie crumbles and then the same house across the street comes on the market for $60K less forcing you to lower your asking price. At the same time, the builder where you are going just had a price increase. It can be very frustrating and expensive. This is where utilizing the services of a resort community expert can really help you out. The Elephant knows how to maximize the price you’ll get for your house while minimizing the time to get it ready and, also knows how to help you with some useful information as to how to negotiate with the builder on the other end. We were able to help two couples with this in the last few weeks.
The talk of moving to warmer weather is now a reality for many. Our bones aren’t getting any younger and it’s easier to find your golf ball when it’s not three inches below the surface. Lower taxes are appealing to many, as well. Of course, many have been waiting for the market to recover and have realized that it’s done about all its going to do in Trilogy. Pricing is only rising in the sunny areas that suffered the most during the second largest crash in American history. During their long overdue growth, now is the time to invest there and cut your losses here. Investing isn’t all our dearly departed are doing as many are deciding to rent. Fool me once, shame on you but fool me twice, shame on me is the feeling of many who were hit hard by the crash and recovery has been too painful to risk it again.
Members and brokers are changing the face of Trilogy. It’s a whole new ball game. Do you remember the model gallery? I know you do. I’m sure those of you who invested in Trilogy over a year or two ago all know the name of your floor plan and many of you even remember your home site number (Lot number for the greenhorns). It’s not important that a new member knows that but it is important that a broker knows the difference between an Oakwood and a Cedar. Yes, they’re both trees but that’s not what we’re talking about; we’re talking about value. If your broker isn’t advertising the name of your floor plan on the NWMLS and the rest of the Internet, they’re missing out on thousands of people who search for Trilogy homes by the name of the floor plan they’ve been dreaming of for years. I’ve seen this mistake a lot lately. I’m also, disgusted with some of the pricing I’m seeing from brokers who it seems have finally heard about Trilogy. It’s only been here for 13 years. Because they are unfamiliar, they price the house like any other house in the general area of Trilogy and that’s wrong. Do yourself a favor if you are at all thinking of selling, consult a broker who has a proven track record in Trilogy; someone without an ego, has your best interests at heart, and whose signs you’ve seen many times over the years. It really upsets me when I see people being taken advantage of and I’d be happy to give you the straight scoop. A Hemlock shouldn’t take six months to sell nor should it be in the low $700Ks on the golf course.
A mixed bag of nuts revisited…beware.
A couple years ago I wrote an article titled “Trilogy is a mixed bag of nuts.” I discussed why some homes sell for so much and others for so little and why that is. It came down to the different circumstances of buyers and the level of knowledge of their brokers. This is why pricing was all over the place with what buyers were paying for their homes and what sellers were getting for them. It was chaos. The neat thing about today is that abundant resales over the last few years have resulted in reasonably stabilized pricing. I can literally prepare a general value for any home in Trilogy based upon its floor plan, location and proximity to the Cascade Club. Then, when I show up at your home, I can tighten up the analysis to an exact asking price simply based upon your level of fits and finishes, condition, landscaping and view. Trilogy is very different as I’ve said many times. If you’re interviewing a listing broker over the phone and they can’t give you a pretty darn close, shoot from the hip, value for your home without looking at it, you’ve got the wrong broker on the line. The moral of the story is don’t be fooled by fancy clothes, cars, pamphlets or company names as it may cost you more than you anticipated. A broker should know the difference between a Trilogy home, the difference of each and every lot and the idiosyncrasies of each elevation if you’re a broker wanting to serve well in Trilogy; few do
I love to be upbeat. Whether these reports come across that way or not, it’s not up to me. I just report what is happening and I have very little control over that. What I can control is making a difference for those who have been reading and know I’ll do the very best I can for them whether investing in Trilogy or liquidating.
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That’s a wrap for April! We’ll see you next month.