Big Bear Real Estate Blog: Lake Fills as Market Thaws

The big news here in Big Bear, as we switch gears into Spring, is that the lake is literally as full as it can be. In my 11 years here as a local, I have never seen it quite as full and, in fact, they have been letting water out in order to keep it from overflowing at the dam. As we approach the back side of April, the weather is hinting at the warmer months to come and the Big Bear Real Estate market is thawing out nicely. Although tax time always seems to slow down the market just a bit, buyer interest overall is on the rise. Based on our growing list of recent foreclosure assignments, it looks like there will be an increase in bank-owned property (currently foreclosures make up only 8% of our active inventory) hitting the market soon. Do let us know if you would like information on those foreclosures that will be coming out soon.

Let’s now check in on the vital signs of the Big Bear real estate market: there are currently 678, vs. 650 this time last month, active residential listings on our MLS. There are currently 88 homes in escrow, leading to a 7.7 month supply which is up from 6.25 last month. The rule of thumb is that roughly six months of inventory is seen as a balanced market; much less than six months of inventory creates a seller’s market; and much over makes for a buyer’s market. Here in Big Bear you will typically see 66% of all the listings that hit the market in a given year, list in the first half of the year, while 66% of all the closings in a given year will occur in the second half of the year. There is no doubt up here that it is still very much a buyer’s market at the moment and, with the seasonal increase in inventory we expect to see for the next few months, that should continue to be the case.

The average price of homes sold in March 2011 was $249,227, down 3% from March of last year. Although, the average price in February compared to last year was up 2%. When looking at the trends in the market, it still remains a tale of a few different markets. Demand for value-packed properties under $250,000 continues to stabilize and even strengthen. However, for properties priced over $500,000, the market is still quite soft. Interesting to note is that sales under the $250,000 mark in the first quarter of this year saw a total increase of 12% compared to Q1 of 2010. That stubborn sale-to-list price ratio is staying strong at roughly 95%. That changes when looking at different property types. For example, of the 188 closed sales in the first quarter of this year, of which 33% were foreclosures, the sale-to-list ratio on bank-owned properties is just over 98%.

All-in-all, it is indeed still a great time to buy the right piece of real estate here in Big Bear and there will be many more great deals coming to the market soon so if you’re interested in those, just let us know and we will keep you posted. Until next time all the best and happy hunting.