How Long to Sell, 2009-2013

By Dave Fratello | February 21st, 2013

If you launch your listing in the first part of the year, how long will it take to sell?

And how does our hot-hot-hot 2013 season compare against recent years?

We're taking a stab at answering those questions with a look at historical data on average DOM for listings that launch early in the season. Consider this a preliminary report.

We took a look at data on Manhattan Beach listings that launched between Jan. 1-Feb. 28 in each of the past 5 years, including 2013.

We focused only on those that actually sold. To narrow the data more, we looked only at SFRs west of Sepulveda.

You quickly see a pattern that is expected, in a way – listings launching in the very difficult early days of 2009 had the hardest road to selling, averaging 102 DOM before finding buyers.

The average DOM for solds was quite similar in each of the ensuing 3 years, all near 70 DOM, or about one-third less, with 2012 having the lowest average at 67 DOM.

There are very few closed sales yet among early-2013 listings, so for this year, we looked at a different number – average DOM for properties sold or currently in escrow. And we'll note, these data were captured early on Feb. 21, a full week before the close of the data window for new listings in those past years.

So with the heavy caveat that these data are preliminary, they do show something amazing: Average DOM from listing start till escrow opens is currently 18 DOM.

Sample sizes for each year were similar: 40 sales from 2009, 42 from 2010, 35 from 2011, and 42 from 2012. It's early here in 2013, and we have 18 sales (including current escrows) to report from. (We expect that to put us on pace for 40-50 sales for 2013 later, when we revisit this data.)

Now, we'll need to check back in later in the season, and later this year, to draw an honest-to-goodness comparison between 2013 and the prior years. That 18 DOM figure seemingly can only go up from here. But we'll see.

Not sure that averages tell you much?

We also grouped sold listings by DOM and found a pattern that's quite similar among years. In each of the previous 4 years, about 1/3rd of listings sold with 30 DOM or fewer, about 1/3rd more sold within 30-90 DOM, and the balance needed more than 90 DOM.

Last year (2012) seemed somewhat better, with just 20% needing more than 90 DOM.


Inventory blast from the past: While researching this data, we noted a trail of failed listings in past years, particularly 2009. What's fascinating – inventory as of 2/28/09 was 145 SFRs west of Sepulveda. (See our MB Market Update post from then.)

Today, there are just 42 active listings, SFRs and THs, in all of MB.

Yes, late February 2009 was just about the highest point for inventory since we've tracked this market, but it's still astonishing to see current inventory at about 1/4th of that level.


Nerdy Notes

The numerically inclined among our readers may want to know this about our post today:

Data source: All data are from the MLS and reflect sales reported there. Where sales were arranged off-market and reported on the MLS with 0 or 1 DOM, we still counted the sales.

Start date source: Our data search is based on an MLS field called the "date of listing contract," an internal field that consumers don't see, but which correlates best with the start date of a listing on the public market.

Data anomaly removed: We removed one major outlier from the 2011 data – 2020 The Strand, which tolled an amazing 707 DOM after launching in early 2011, selling only this year. With that sale in the mix, 2011's average DOM to sale was 94 instead of 76.

Some re-lists included: We had the option to try to exclude all bogus re-lists with artificially "new" start dates within the period 1/1-2/28 from this search, but decided, instead, to simply report the number of them that we found and make that an asterisk to the data.

So the number of bogus re-lists, by year... 2009: 6, 2010: 3, 2011: 5, 2012: 2, 2013: 0, so far. (217 9th has just now pulled a bogus re-list to celebrate a $110K price cut, and if it sells this year, would qualify for an asterisk in the 2013 data.)

Note about DOM and "backup offer" status: When a listing is switched from "active" (available) to "backup offer" status, rather than the "pending" status, DOM continue to accumulate during the "backup offer" period. Commonly this means that roughly 2 weeks' worth of "extra" DOM are going to toll even though the sellers have accepted an offer.

The use of "backup offer" status seems – based on an impression, only – to have increased in 2011-2013. If that impression is true, then DOM you see for the past 2-3 years are slightly high, or overstated.

Please see our blog disclaimer.

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