Day May 14, 2008
In our last issue of the Real Estate Market Source, we predicted a slow ? rst quarter for residential closings, followed by an uptick in the second quarter (see www.starkhomes.com for back issues of the Real Estate Market Source). Well, we were certainly correct about the soft ? rst quarter. However, an increase in customer inquiry and showing activity after spring break gives us reason to hope that the second quarter might also meet our projections.
It appears closings will be off roughly 25% from the ?rst quarter of 2007 in the combined Dane, Sauk, and Columbia markets. We admit that this is an even bigger drop than we anticipated. However, we also didn’t anticipate a record snowfall year, when many weekends in January and February were virtually wiped out as far as showings go. The earliest possible Easter didn’t help either, as activity is always reduced in the weeks before and after the holiday for academic spring breaks. Excuses aside, this was a rough quarter.
On the brighter side, since late March, we’ve seen a noticeable increase in activity on our web site, in open houses, and in our showing volumes.
Showings on our listings were off 18% in January and February, but were even with last year in March, and are on pace to be over 20% ahead of last year in April. Offer activity is picking up as well. Pending sale data in the MLS is notoriously unreliable and always late in being reported, so we won’t really know until May or June if the market overall is taking a real turn. But the traf?c signals are certainly positive.