How This Year's 1st Quarter Compares

Posted by Dave Fratello on Friday, April 30th, 2010 at 4:00am.

We all know 2009 was a dreadful year for local real estate.

Statistics suggest that things began to turn around in the 4th quarter, though. And this year, the 1st quarter had a busy feel, with several listings selling quickly, even some multiple-offer situations popping up.

Still, the recovery in the 1st quarter of 2010 was only strong relative to last year, if we judge by closed sales reported on the MLS.

(A local agent compiled these data from an MLS search of closed sales of SFRs west of Sepulveda from 2000-2010. We're thankful!)

With 36 closed sales in Q1 2010, we were up 30% over 2009, but that was one ugly valley to compare against.

The 25 closed sales last year in Q1 – about 8 per month, or 2 per week, from Jan.-March 2009 – reflect a near-stoppage in sales locally. That pace was less than one-half the average for the decade previous.

Our 2010 pace was akin to 2008's 35 closed sales, but lagging well behind 2007's 57 sales.

The MBC graph above shows that the last "good" year, 2007, was actually pretty normal, with 5 of the previous 7 years hanging around 60 sales in the first quarter.

It's the last 3 years that have been way off pace.

This isn't the final word on Q1 2010.

Closed sales are a safe, solid measure of market activity, but they don't capture in-the-moment sales activity.

Deals are made and escrows take a while to close, at least 30 days, and recently longer. So the buzz of activity we saw in February and March won't show up in closed sales till April or May.

We'll take another look at the Q2 sales pace down the road.
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