I reported last month that for the months of January and February the Venice area was trending towards a Buyer’s Market. In March, it took a pause. Statistically, the month of March, relative to home resales, was neutral. There were less homes for sale, including less new listings. Although inventory levels remained low, which is often a harbinger of price increases, for sale list prices and average sold prices remained relatively stable, if not slightly down. The result was that buyers bought, more homes went pending and closed, but they did not pay higher prices. The market has grown sensitive, if not resistant to continued aggressive price appreciation. These are the facts:
1.) Homes for Sale & New Listings. There were 744 homes for sale in March 2017, 8.5% less than last month. There were 6.3% less homes listed, 251 homes.
2.) Closed & Pending Sales. 233 closed sales (73.9% over last month) and 251 pending sales (19.5% higher than February).
3.) Average List & Sold Price. The average for sale list price in March was $343,000, although down only 0.6% from last month, it was down 2.3% from the cumulative average of $351,000 January 2016 to date. Likewise, the average sold price was $273,000 in March 2017, down 3.9% from last month; the average sold price per square foot in March 2017 was $169 per square foot, down 5.6% from February 2017.
So, sales activity remains brisk, which is keeping inventory levels reasonably low. However, buyers have pushed back on continued strong price appreciation, and sellers have taken notice. When properly priced, homes are going under contract. When the list price is inflated, they do not. Rather, the home becomes subject to price reductions. Ultimately, as reported daily in the Multiple Listing Service, price reductions become the flavor of the day, until the list price is in sync with what the market will support.