February Brightens

Posted by Dave Fratello on Friday, February 29th, 2008 at 5:30am.

Try and put aside Thursday's foggy weather. The story of February for local RE was quite a bit sunnier, particularly when measured against Q4 2007 and January '08.

The two most recent months saw sales of SFRs west of Sepulveda in the single digits – 9 in December and 7 in January. Currently, we've recorded 17 sales (new escrows) in our subject region in February. Several have posted in the last 2-3 days, and there's still a leap day left for more to be posted.

The deals made so far include 1 in the Hill Section (forgettable 1019 11th) and 8 each in the Sand Section and the Trees. We'd call 3 of the Sand Section sales possible lot sales, while 2 were new construction – including delicious 200 19th at $5.849m. In the Trees, 3 new homes, 1 great remodel (2317 Pine), and 3 under $1.5m.

The region is still off the 2007 pace for the same month, though we can't say with certainty by how much. (MBC's public tracking began a bit less than 1 year ago, so we can't compare apples to apples.)

For some perspective, however imperfect, consider that in March 2007, 50 SFR sales closed in all of MB – not just west of Hwy. 1 – which means February was like a rocket launch last year. (Closed sales in March are a rough reflection of February activity, with average escrows of 30 days.) The previous years saw 40 closed sales in March 2005 and 36 in March 2006.

Given that SFR sales west of Sepulveda are generally 2/3rds or more of the MB total, we can estimate that sales in our subject region were around 25-35 in February of each of the last 3 years. Still, even if this year is falling short, the improvement is noteworthy.

New inventory coming on in February has substantially exceeded new sales, though this should be no big surprise given seasonal factors. We added 30 new listings in February against those 17 sales.

Total inventory recorded by MBC is at 85 with one day left in February, the highest total we have yet recorded – even with the sales activity.
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