Lake Area real estate looking up

RE/MAX reps share optimistic news at Fifth Annual Real Estate Symposium

An increasingly optimistic housing market at Lake of the Ozarks is what the most current numbers presented at the Fifth Annual Real Estate Symposium for Lake of the Ozarks Thursday at Osage National Golf Resort in Lake Ozark show.

“2012 is the best year we have had in the last four years. Overall, signs are optimistic in real estate next year,” said Frank Christensen, CEO of RE/MAX Lake of the Ozarks, which sponsors the symposium. “All the signs are in place for that to happen.”

Jeff Krantz, executive vice president of RE/MAX Lake of the Ozarks and of Krantz and Associates, said during his presentation that the Lake of the Ozarks housing market continues on its road to recovery. He said main factors in helping this are for real estate professionals to watch its inventory, continue to increase the number of units sold and hope to see increasing property values in the near future.

Krantz said the Lake of the Ozarks real estate market saw its flat bottom in the recession in 2009-2010 with 1,840 unit transactions in 2009, and 1,807 in 2010. However, it started to pick up last year with 1,859 unit transactions and a volume of $330.5 million. In 2012 through the third quarter, which is through September, the real estate transactions at the Lake that come from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) listings, showed 1,629 transactions made.

“That is an 11 percent increase in transactions and 11 percent increase in volume over the same period last year,” Krantz said.

Krantz also delivered some key statistics in the Lake Area real estate market from three main sectors, which totally comprise about 90 percent of the total market. First, he discussed waterfront residential property. Krantz said there were 434 home sales in 2011, with 506 home sales showing so far through the third quarter of 2012. He listed this as a 31 percent increase in transactions and nearly 50 percent increase of the volume in the overall market this year.

“The median sold price was $225,000 at about $101 per square foot this year in this sector of the market,” he said. He also said there has been a 17 percent decline in foreclosures for residential waterfront homes.

In off-water residential homes, Krantz said the MLS listings showed 474 home sales in 2011, and 517 home sales in this sector of the overall market through the third quarter of 2012. He said this represents 32 percent of the transactions and 21 percent of the volume of the overall market in 2012. In addition, there have been 159 foreclosures this year compared to 183 total in 2011 in this sector of the market.

“Off-water residential homes carry the burden of the foreclosures in our market,” he said. “Even though our volume stayed the same, our number of foreclosures in the off-water market is only 10 percent now, which is a good change.”

Finally in condominium, town home and villa sales, the MLS listing showed 443 home sales this year through the third quarter compared to 391 homes sales in this specific sector in 2011. Krantz said condo sales represent 27 percent of the transactions ad 25 percent of the volume of the overall market in 2012.

He also said the majority of the residential home and condominium sales are second home-type properties. In which, Christensen also stated later in the symposium that the real estate market saw an 11 percent increase of vacation homes nationally last year.

“Before, many vacation markets were severely depressed following the recession. However, now the market conditions for vacation and second homes is doing well,” he said. “People are purchasing a second home and units are coming back into that market at a reduced rate.”

Krantz said farm sales have increased by 35 percent over the last year, and waterfront lot sales are also up 25 percent over the last year, as well. Along with an optimistic outlook locally, Shaun White, vice president of corporate communications for RE/MAX, LLC, said the U.S. is also seeing an improving housing market at the national level, as well.

White said some factors that have affected the housing market initially during the recession were the Gross Domestic Product, which is made up 70 percent by consumer spending. In years past, overall consumer spending has been down. However, he said in September, it was nine points higher than it had been in previous months.

“It is starting to get better and is something to watch that can affect the housing market,” he said.

White said even though foreclosures have come down, it will take a few more years for them to drop down permanently. In addition, he said there have also been challenges in people not able to get loans with strict bank restrictions in place.

Yet, White said there is good news on the horizon. He said sub-prime loans, which ended in foreclosures, are starting to move into the past. In addition, White said data RE/MAX collects from more than 50 analysts across the country show home sales rising 15 months in a row and home prices raising eight months in a row.

“These are really strong, noticeable trends. We are seeing sales and prices moving in the right direction,” he said. “Plus, according to the National Association of Home Builders said new home sales have been improving in 103 markets.”

Overall, White said the National Association of Realtors stated 2012 home sales are projected to go up 8 percent by the end of the year, going up another 8 percent in 2013. They also predict prices to go up 7-8 percent with a hopeful 22 percent increase over the next five years.

“When prices rise, those folks under water start surfacing again. Those are folks at risk of foreclosure are moving out of that situation,” he said.

Krantz said the Lake Area real estate market is seeing an 11 percent increase in transactions and real estate professionals need to remember accurate pricing equals sold property. Also, Krantz said values are starting to increase, with foreclosures locally doing down across the board.

For Christensen, he said the Lake Area real estate market will continue to improve with an increase of real estate sales of all types, decline in inventory and big developers continuing to donate and fuel the commercial landscape for the Lake in 2013.

“No matter what the market has been in the past four years, the Lake is still the best place to live, work and play,” he added.

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