Market Metrics and Year to Date Westwood Neighborhood Update

Market Update for the Week of March 25, 2009

Both mortgage and interest rates were sharply lower this week as the Federal Reserve unveiled a plan to purchase over $1 Trillion of treasury and mortgage backed securities to try to stimulate the economy and push interest rates down. This surprising move on Wednesday pushed yields down almost a ½ point which was the biggest one day drop since the stock market crash of 1987. Also mortgage rates dropped to near historic levels. This historic policy shift should definitely help the real estate markets and in turn provide liquidity in the jumbo sector where help is so desperately needed.  Perhaps this will, in turn, cause some movement in the higher end real estate market, which has been sluggish this month in spite of a strong up-tick in sales overall.

Higher Loan Limits are on the Way

  • FHA Financing up to $729,750 with as little as 3% down is now available in the market
  • Conventional financing up to $729,750 has been approved for the credit agencies but the final pricing and guidelines are still probably two weeks away. 

Now, what does the Westwood market look like?  Well, the data from CLAW, the Westside Multiple Listing Sevice, is tabulated up to end of February.  Here is a brief look at some of the most important reports.   You can download the full size PDF’s here.

* The Number of For Sale Properties by Month

* The Number of Sold Properties by Month

* The Number of Under Contract Properties by Month

* The Number of New Properties Listed by Month

* Sold Price by Month

* Supply & Demand by Month

* The Average Days on Market by Month

* Months Supply of Inventory

The Number of For Sale Properties By Month

There are 16% more properties for sale this year as compared to the same time 1 year ago. (Feb. ’08, 158 single family homes, Feb.’09, 183)  The bad news: more supply= less demand.  The good news, however, is that this number is down from its high point in November of 2008, when there were 210 single family homes for sale in Westwood.  So it seems that we are trending toward absorbing some of the excess inventory that has been sitting on the market.

The Number of Sold Properties by Month

The news is that we are right on target with the amount of units that normally sell at this time of year.  That’s great news overall, because market conditions are not preventing buyers from venturing into the market, as they normally do in the spring.  Simulus packages, along with lower prices, foreclosures and REO properties, and record low interest rates are driving this trend.

The Number of Properties In Escrow by Month

27 homes went into escrow last February, while only 13 went pending this February.  This may be the start of a trend, but the small sample makes it difficult to assess.  I’m waiting to see how March looks, before interpreting this small data sample.  It may be that we will have a better picture by using the first quarter numbers, due out at the first part of April.  Stay tuned!

The Number of New Properties Listed by Month

Feb-08 vs. Feb-09: The number of new properties was up 25% from a year ago.  What will this mean to the Westwood market?  There certainly is pent up buyer demand, but a sharp rise in inventory could signal another wave of price reductions as sellers compete for the buyer’s attention.  Again, first quarter numbers will give a more complete assessment; however, there does seem to be a rise in the number of signs in yards, and the length of time on the market for most listings.

Tomorrow we will look at the rest of the Westwood data, and next week we’ll take a look at a Brentwood market snapshot.

Market Report as PDF File

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