April was one of the strangest months in recent memory when it came to real estate numbers. The question is, what will it mean in May? 

Perhaps strangest of all is the median sale price. Of all homes sold in Staten Island in April 2014, the median sale price was a mere $369,000. We have not seen numbers this low since 2011, when the median sale price for the month of May fell to $360,000. Alone, this number seems odd, but it is even more puzzling when looking at inventory numbers.

Available inventory on the market during April was just 1977 homes in total. In April 2013, 2423 homes were up for sale locally. Although up from the previous month (March 2014 listed just 1859), the median for the past 5 months of 1859 compared to the summer median last year of 2527, the inventory drop of 14.6% is significant.

In addition, the sold to list ratio last month was lower than it has been in a full year. At 94.32%, the average closing price in relation to the listing price has not been this low since April 2013, when it dropped to 93.53%. Sellers are getting less for their homes despite the demand. However, that should not be considered a trend at this point.

In terms of current days on the market, April saw a significant drop over the previous month. The average home sat on the market for 146 days, selling a full twenty percent faster than homes in March, with similar figures over April 2013.

The difference in total monthly homes sold remained insignificant, both on a monthly and yearly basis. 233 homes were sold in April 2014, while 225 were sold in March. 240 home sales closed in April 2013. However, compare these numbers to the summer months of 2013- with a median sale count of 296, that's a 27% difference!

Mortgage analysis may be a key indicator for understanding the market fluctuations. Mortgage rates are considerably higher than they were at this time last year. During the week of April 4th, for example, the 30-year fixed rate was 4.45%, the 15-year fixed rate was 3.44%, and the 5-year ARM was 3.41%. On April 3rd 2013, the 30-year fixed rate was 3.73%, the 15-year fixed rate was 2.95%, and the 5-year ARM was 2.65%. Each of these numbers increased significantly, so it makes sense that buyers have been more cautious about obtaining a mortgage.

The same is true for February, which is when the homes that closed in April were actually put under contract. These numbers are even more drastic, with the difference averaging more than a full percentage point. The Mortgage Bankers Association's Market Composite Index dropped on a fairly consistent basis throughout the month, indicating a slump in the amount of applications and approvals.

The Consumer Confidence Index during April fell from the previous month. The numbers dropped 1.3 percent, from 83.9 to 82.3. Though small, a slight drop in a shaky consumer economy could help explain the wacky statistics.

Numbers such as these can be difficult to explain, but keep in mind that low inventory numbers still sway the market in the seller's favor. This month in particular demonstrates that real estate market conditions depend on many other factors aside from supply and demand.

Posted by Anthony Licciardello on
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