Home sales jumped 31 percent this November versus November 2011 in Chatham, Bryan and Effingham counties, according to Savannah Multi-List Corp. statistics. November typically marks the start of a housing market slowdown as the holidays approach.
“A lot of people seemed to be waiting on a lot of things,” said Tommy Danos, a Realtor with ERA Southeast Coastal Real Estate. “Looking at the big picture, buyers feel that prices, their negotiating position and interest rates cannot get any better.”
November’s 383 sales included significant increases in all four housing types — single family, modular, townhouse and condominium — and single-family home sales ticked up in every geographic area except Effingham County.
The average sales price also jumped for the first time since this summer, driven by a six-month high in sales in the historic district and heavy demand in West Chatham. Nine single-family homes sold downtown at an average price of $432,111. Deals closed on five condos as well.
The 76 houses sold in West Chatham, meanwhile, attracted 109 percent of the list price, the first time sales price has outstripped list price since before the housing bust. While the statistic does not reflect list price reductions, the average sales price for the month — $231,652 — dwarfs the $187,838 average price fetched by West Chatham homes over the last year.
The inventory in the Pooler area fell to a six-month supply, meaning the number of homes available for sale would be exhausted in six months at the current sales pace. Market-wide, the inventory dropped to a post-bust low of nine months. The Savannah area had a 15-month supply as recently as the summer of 2010.
“We are still in a buyer’s market but we are headed in the right direction,” said Paul Gutting, president of the Savannah Area Board of Realtors. “I believe we will see more of the same in 2013.”
Statistics hint at a strong finish to 2012. Pending sales, which reflect situations where homes are under contract to be sold, were slightly ahead of last November. December 2011 surprised with 376 sales.
Several local Realtors acknowledged they are “hustling” more this December than in years past. The trend extends beyond the local market. Buyers nationwide are responding to favorable market conditions, according to the National Association of Realtor’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun.
“We’ve had very good housing affordability conditions for quite some time, but we’re seeing more impact now from steady job creation, and rising consumer confidence about home buying now that home prices have clearly turned positive,” Yun said.