Lowell Cooke, Cooke’N Real Estate

Pending Sales Outpace New Listings in January

Same story, different month.  By my count in the Billings MLS, for areas 1-8 (Metro area-not Laurel), 157 homes went under contract in January, while there were only 138 new listings.  This means buyers are snapping up the new listings and buying the existing inventory.  The downward trend in the entire Billings MLS, which includes Red Lodge, Columbus, Bridger, Roundup, etc., reflects a 15.4% decrease in listings taken in January 2021 compared to 2020.  As of this writing, there were 111 active homes on the market in the Billings “Metro” area.  Compared to the entire Billings MLS, the number of homes on the market in January 2021 was 311, while there were 666 homes on the market January 2020, or a whopping 53% decrease.

Billings’ Low Housing Inventory-What Will It Take For It To Stabilize?

Having sold real estate through the disastrous mid 1980’s, where I can remember over 250 HUD repossessed homes on the market and a 30-40% decrease in home values, it seems odd to characterize our low housing inventory as a crisis.  It really isn’t but if you are a first-time buyer or a seller hoping to move up, it is certainly a reason to be frustrated.  I am not sure I can pinpoint a reason for the low inventory, but suffice it to say, if there is nothing to buy, sellers are going to be reluctant to sell.  This can only exacerbate the situation.  The options for a current homeowner considering selling, are to sell and try to find a place to live-say with your kids! Wouldn’t that be a table turner.  The other option would be to build.  I can see an increase in new home construction this year, which would add more existing homes to the inventory.  Problem is, completion is probably 6 months or more down the road.  Increases and shortages in building materials have strung out the completion timelines.  Since sales prices are at an all-time high, living with the kids might not be so bad!  Come on, take one for the team!

Other ways I have seen to add to the housing inventory-death, divorces and foreclosures.  Hopefully, these won’t be the answer to our shortage.

Appreciation, Average Sales Price and Closed $ Volume All Up In January

Now, for the dry stats.  In the entire Billings MLS, the Average Sales Price for homes closed in January was $310,204 compared to $274,569 last January.  The Year over Year, average sales price (average sales price of the total closed volume divided by the total number of sales in the last 12 months) has increased to $293,420 from $268,583, or $24,837 and a 9.25% appreciation rate.  Wow, 9.25% appreciation for the last 12 months!  Closed $ volume for January 2021 was up $5.6 million over last January, with roughly the same number of closed sales 181 this year to 184 last year.


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