Putnam County sales and prices both spiked in the first quarter of 2016, with transactions again reaching levels we have not seen in over 10 years.
Sales. Putnam sales surged again in the first quarter, with single.family home sales spiking over 35% compared to last year and now up over 21% for the rolling year. Sales have now been going up for over four years, with transactions up in seven straight quarters and 15 out of the last 16. With 976 sales for the rolling year, we’re approaching the 1,000-sale mark that we have not hit since early 2006 at the tail end of the last seller’s market. We saw the same results with condos, with sales up over 35% for the quarter and the year.
Prices. After a disappointing 2015, single.family prices started the new year with a bang, spiking over 12% on average, 10% at the median, and up just a tick in the price-per-square foot. For the rolling year, prices were up at a similarly torrid pace, rising almost 4% on average and 8% at the median. Even though these types of increases are not sustainable, we do believe that Putnam’s pricing will continue to appreciate this year, particularly as inventory continues to tighten.
Inventory. Indeed, the “months of inventory” indicator fell 24% from last year’s first quarter and is now down to under 8.0 months for single.family homes. Obviously, we’re already seeing the impact of the declining inventory on pricing, and we expect that to continue through the spring market.
Negotiability. The negotiability indicators were flat, with both the listing retention rate and the days on market relatively stable. We would expect homes to start selling more quickly and for closer to the asking price as the market heats up.
Condos. The story was different for condos prices, which were down sharply for the quarter, even while the rolling year prices were relatively flat or up slightly. The condo market is very small, though, so it’s prone to skewing by a few outliers.
Going forward, we believe that these levels of buyer demand will continue through a robust spring market, although we do not expect that the spike in prices is sustainable over the long term. The fundamentals of the market, though, are good, with prices still at attractive levels, buyer demand high, interest rates low, and the economy generally improving.