Wow, What a Start to the New Year!
In my best start to a new year ever, I have failed to post regularly to this blog. That has always been my challenge. As a producing agent and our company’s Broker/Owner there never is enough time to do everything that I want. Throw in our church and the work that I do with young people and there is no time left. For confirmation, just ask my wife Karen. She occasionally comments that she is a computer widow and there is a little more truth to that than I care to admit. I’m not complaining mind you, as this IS the success that we have prayed and worked for. With 13 transactions closed personally since January 1st and 4 more pending sales I have never had a better start but it’s not because our market has gotten hotter.
We have priced our listings well for the most part which is crucial as the market continues to be buyer driven. With a huge inventory of properties available there is no shortage of options and buyers can afford to be very selective. Not only is there typically a plan B if their first choice doesn’t pan out, but likely there are available plans C, D, E, etc… In fact, as of this writing there are 6,732 properties available for sale in our Great Smoky Mountain Association of Realtors MLS database. 3,675 of those are residential listings (removing lots & commercial properties). Removing mobile homes and the considerable inventory of condominium units you have a total of 3,073 single family homes for sale. This number does not count direct sale by owner properties of course and not every (although by far most) real estate firm is a member of our board of Realtors. This number doesn’t mean much until you know that year to date, there are only 254 reported single family homes sold. Although this isn’t necessarily the pace that we will have all year round it compares unfavorably to 370 sales during the same period (January & February) last year and 301 for 2005. Allowing for the fact that some agencies are a little slow to report we will probably show a few more February sales by the end of this week. Still, this is significantly off of last year’s brisk pace. As I detailed in an earlier post to this Gatlinburg real estate blog, our market turned sharply during early 2006 and like much of the country became more of a buyer’s market. By the end of 2006 the stats were very plain for all to see the slide in our real estate market conditions.
As additional anecdotal type evidence, a couple of real estate firms have closed their doors recently and another has had their office building foreclosed upon by a lender. These and other signs indicate the extent of the slowing market. Why have we (and our firm) been successful? Several reasons (first among them the grace of God!) come to mind:
We are technology focused and have adopted the internet and other high tech avenues to best market our client’s real estate holdings and serve our buyers.
We are customer driven meaning that we aren’t going to provide false information or exaggerate the values and benefits of area real estate.
Although our office is in Gatlinburg, our market area is county wide and even beyond the limits of Sevier County. Our company has had sales in Kodak, Cosby, Newport, Bluff Mountain, Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and of course Gatlinburg already this year.
Although my crystal ball is a little cloudy (darn it!) I don’t expect the market to rapidly become hot again. Although people won’t stop vacationing in the Smokies or cease to move to and retire here we have a lot of inventory to sell. In fact, because land has already been purchased by developers who have also spent money (often borrowed) to add infrastructure such as utilities, roads, and common features they have to continue to build. For this reason we will likely have a continued opportunity for buyers to purchase good properties at very attractive prices. If you are interested in buying (or selling) Sevier County real estate please contact us for professional and honest assistance with any real estate (other than time share) that you own or would like to own.