2014 will be the top year in sales since the market crash 7-8 years ago. Sales area slightly up from last year, inventory is also slightly up but still in a range that is too low to be considered a balanced market and prices increased again this year but at a less rapid pace than last year.

After the spike in sales in October, November was in a more normal range and thought it was above last year it didn’t quite match the numbers for 2012. Even though we are not finished with December yet, we will be above last year in overall sales which puts us at the highest numbers since 2006.

Inventory crept back to the range it was in all year up until October – slightly higher than last year and slightly lower than 2012. However, we are still running in a range that is too low for the demand thus putting us in a seller’s market. A normal market is one that averages between 5-7 months of inventory and with the exception of Jan and Feb this year (which are the slowest sales months of the year) we have been below 5 months inventory the rest of the year.

Prices increased during the first half of the year and are following the normal trend downward during the last quarter but are still up overall from last year. Last year we saw double digit increases but this year we are in the upper single digits. I said at the beginning of the year that I felt this would be what we’d see and I think that next year we will see increases in the mid to upper single digits.

Sellers are in a good position right now and should be through the summer but there are factors that may make it less favorable for sellers (not bad, just less favorable) and one of those is a predicted increase in interest rates for home loans to the 5% range by the end of next year. So waiting too long to sell may make it a little more difficult and will likely result in missing what may be the strongest buying season for the next few years.

Buyers also should look at the next 6-8 months as being a better time to buy, prior to any interest rate increases, but any buyer should have a good Realtor on their team since there is strong competition from other buyers and without the correct strategy the process may be a frustrating one.

Here are the monthly sales and inventory charts plus the annual sales chart with the total for 2014 through November so you can see what I’m describing:

Pinellas county residential real estate sales chart Jan 2007 thru Nov 2014

Pinellas County residential real estate inventory graph Jan 2007 thru Nov 2014

PRO stats Oct 06 thru May 07_23687_image001

Information for charts above was taken from PRO/Suncoast MLS from Jan 2007 thru May 2011 & from the MFRMLS for May 2011 thru Nov 2014. 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.