It sure seems like everyone has their own opinion on what is going on in the real estate market and what will happen in the future. Either the market is great and will continue that way forever or issues like the higher interest rates and overall economy mean that the world will be coming to an end.

Let’s just take a look at what the numbers are saying.

October is slightly down from last year and is the first month since November 2010 where we saw the year over year statistic drop. It does look like there is a slowing in the local market but seeing that a high percentage of the October sales are from contract written in September and August, and that inventory did not really start improving to any significant extent until October – that’s not too surprising. Even with October not being as strong as previous months we are still maintaining a higher range than in many of the previous years so I don’t consider this as anything other than a period of slowing.

Pinellas County residential real estate sales chart Jan 2007 thru Oct 2013

The inventory did come up more this last month than it has for quite a while which will help to bring the market to a more normal condition. We still have a ways to go to get into a more comfortable range and inventory often goes higher at the end of the year, but it is still a move in the correct direction and is the first month since November 2010 where the inventory was higher than the same month in the previous year.

Pinellas County residential real estate inventory chart Jan 2007 thru Oct 2013

Information for charts above was taken from PRO/Suncoast MLS from Jan 2007 thru May 2011 & from the MFRMLS for May 2011 thru October 2013. This information may or may not include all listed expired, withdrawn, pending or sold properties of one or more members of the My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service.

So what does all this mean for you?

If you are planning to sell, you will need to be prepared for a little more competition and a little slower price increase rate. You will need to do the correct things to sell your home if you want to get the best price especially when it comes to what your Realtor does regarding marketing and setting the listing price. Spring is the peak time for selling so if you are wanting to sell soon, it would be smart to begin preparations right after the holidays so you are ready for the buyers. I’ll be happy to help you so that things are set up right.

If you are planning to buy, you would be smart to do so in the next 2-3 months as that will take advantage of a slower period and give you a better opportunity to get what you want and have a better negotiating position. If you do plan to make your purchase during the Spring, you will need to be even more prepared and I’ll be happy to go over with you how to be ready.