By Mike Sannes, April 16, 2014
Q1 2014 Update: Now that the first quarter of 2014 is behind us, let’s take a look at what has transpired in the Big Bear real estate market and what that indicates about what we can expect from the market as we head into the summer selling season.
2014 got off to a surprisingly strong start. January and February, which are typically slow months for real estate sales in Big Bear, saw impressive demand. The combination of low inventory and a larger number of buyers in town than normal, led to an increase in the average sales price of 9.2% in the first two months of 2014, as compared to the same period of 2013. The lack of snow we experienced this winter seemed to prolong the momentum in the Big Bear real estate market that we experienced at the end of 2013. And then came March…
It is normal for the Big Bear real estate market to slow down around tax-time; so, much of what we experienced this March can be attributed to the seasonality of Spring. This March however, saw a bigger decline in number of sales than I certainly was expecting. The total number of closed residential transactions in March 2014 vs. March 2013 was off a whopping 36% (61 in 2014 vs. 95 in 2013.) This is the lowest number of sales we have seen in March since 2009. The number of closed sales was off in basically every area and every price range. With the exception being the higher end of the market, where we saw a 57% increase in the number of sales above $750,000 in the first quarter of 2014 as compared to 2013. This would lead me to believe that the second quarter, with tax time now behind us, should see a strong rebound in number of sales compared to what transpired last year. We shall see… stay tuned for more information on that.
Overall, from a price perspective, the first quarter of 2014 brought us a solid 6.3% increase in average sales price. If we add this to the 5.5% increase we saw in 2013, and the 6.4% increase in 2012, there has been an impressive 18.2% increase in price from the very bottom of the Big Bear real estate market, which was in Q3 of 2011. Overall, sales in Q1 2014 were off 17.4% compared to last year. The number of listings available in Big Bear has been on the rise considerably (472 as I write this vs. 374 this time last year, or a 26% increase).
In looking ahead, with tax time and the spring doldrums nearly behind us, I expect that the Big Bear real estate market will sail nicely into summer. I also expect that the recent price increases we have experienced will hold, but that prices will not continue to rise significantly in the short term. I do expect to see a substantial increase in the number of sales, as buyers adjust to the new market and continue to take advantage of historically low interest rates. It is still a great time to buy in Big Bear. I think that we will experience a more “normal” market this summer, as opposed to an extreme buyers’ or sellers’ market -- both of which we have experienced in the last few years. So, whether you are looking to sell for top dollar or you are looking for the very best home your money will buy, we are well equipped to help and look forward to hearing from you.