This month I’m mainly going to discuss where the local market stands and where it looks like it is going.

Last month was another surprise after December’s dramatic increase.  Typically January and February are the lowest sales months of the year.  I believe this is because many of the deals in the last quarter of the year close by December 31st and there aren’t as many contracts written in November or December due to the holidays – so that would mean less contracts closing in January and February.

So what was the surprise last month?  Local sales increased at least as dramatically as the did in December.  After the tax credit ended in June and sale dropped in July and August there were a lot of people pointing to that as a sign that the market had crashed and that the tax credit just covered up a bad market.  It was to be expected that there would be a drop after the tax credit ended and there is some truth in the fact that it did artificially increase sales.  However, the sales in December and January don’t fit with this assumption.  In fact they show that there is some underlying strength building in this local market.

See for yourself in the chart below (blue is 2007, red is 2008, green is 2009, purple is 2010 and orange is 2011):

Now that we’ve seen the Ups, I’ll discuss the Downs.

Early indications for February are showing a noticeable slowing this month in sales.  With the horrible weather in the Midwest and East Coast I can’t say for sure if this is related to the weather affecting flights and travel plans or not.  I do know that I have a lot of clients coming here to look at homes and condos starting this next week through the rest of this month and next month so it may be that February starts slow and then picks up, but we’ll have to wait and see.  In my next newsletter you’ll find out what happened.

Now that I’ve discussed the Downs I want to look at what the future may hold.

I don’t have a crystal ball so don’t assume that what I’m going to say here will come true.  But I’m already seeing indications that this year will continue to show strength.

One factor that may have an impact on the rest of this year is the horrible winter weather throughout much of the midwest and east coast this year.  I’m hearing from a lot of people in those areas that want to have a winter home or condo in Florida to escape to before next winter.  With Florida being the only state in the country without snow the other week and temperatures in the 70s while much of the country was freezing, the appeal to buy a winter home or condo here is pretty high.

I’ve seen this occur in the past only to die down once the weather stabilized, but this year does seem different.

That, and the incredible prices on homes and condos right now, are likely to combine for a very strong year in sales in our local market.  At least that’s what I see happening.  We’ll know more as the year goes on.

I hope that you do get a chance to enjoy the weather and activities down here some time this year and I look forward to seeing you when you decide the time is right for you to buy.