by Murray Balkcom, Realtor
The Premier Property Group
By September of 2010, buyers were confident that we had seen the worst from the BP Deep Water Horizon disaster and sales returned to the South Walton real estate market. So, any comparisons made from this year to last year are going to be more valid than they were for June, July and August.
Recently, I read that the September average home price in South Walton increased over September 2010, and ECAR’s (Emerald Coast Association of Realtors) numbers show just that. While that is a valid statistic, for me, it is more an indicator to dig in and find out the reason for the increase, rather than something to measure trends.
The thing I dislike about using average sales price to understand trends is that they give weight to the extremes, the highs and the lows. More investigation into the higher average home sales shows that in September, South Walton saw nine reported home sales over $1 million. Of those nine, four were $2.4+ million and two of those were $3.4+ million. (Three of those nine homes sold were located in The Retreat.) These high-end home sales really push up the average sold price, giving a misleading representation of trends. However, by using the median sold price to look at trends, we give less weight to those high-end (and low-end) extremes. Median sold price is that price where half of the sales are above that number and half are below.
In South Walton, September 2011 saw Realtor-reported median sales price of $330,000, down from Sept 2010. In fact, it’s the lowest September median sold price since 2003. Looking at the big picture, the median sold price over the last four Septembers, has not fluctuated greatly. We’ve been seeing some stabilization in selling price, with slight monthly ups and downs.
Where we saw the biggest change was in the total dollar volume of homes sold in South Walton. With those high-end sales which I mentioned earlier, the sold dollar volume jumped greatly. As the chart shows, compared to Sept 2010, we saw an increase of $11.5 million, which represents a 43% increase.
Much of our recent sales volume comes from high-end luxury properties in Seaside, WaterColor, The Retreat and Rosemary Beach. The highest sale reported to ECAR in September is a Gulf front home in The Retreat which sold for $3.7 million. The other large segment of recent sales are homes selling between $300,000-$600,000. Interestingly, only 3 of the 61 reported home sales in South Walton during September 2011, sold between $600,000-$1,000,000. That price point seems to be a slower-moving product at the moment.
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Murray Balkcom is a licensed Realtor with The Premier Property Group, serving South Walton, including the beach communities of Alys Beach, Rosemary Beach, Seacrest, WaterSound, Seagrove, Seaside, WaterColor, Grayton Beach, Blue Mountain Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Dune Allen, and Point Washington.
All sales data referenced above is provided by Emerald Coast Association of Realtors and is thought to be accurate but not guaranteed.