It has been in the news that the number of homes sold is up and that more homes have sold this year than last year. I suppose that is a good thing especially for those who have homes to sell and for those of us who sell those homes.
I ran some numbers using the data in our Regional Multiple Listings Service for St. Paul, MN. The data is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. I looked at total closed sales for 2008 in the city of St. Paul for all types of single family homes, which includes condos and town houses for the first half of the year and compared those numbers to the numbers for the first half of this year.
In the first 6th months of 2008 there were 1071 homes sales in St. Paul, buyers paid an average of $65.37 per square foot. The homes were on the market for an average of 145.6 days. The total amount of money for those homes adds up to $185,441,972
In the first 6th months of 2009 there were 1372 home sales in St. Paul and buyers paid an average of 117.93 per square foot. The homes were on the market for an average of 145.6 days and the total amount of money for the sales of those homes adds up to $168,844,322
Foreclosures are the reason for the lower dollar volume. There were times during the first half of this year when 50 to 60% of all sales in St. Paul were foreclosures. The average home has dropped in value in most neighborhoods but not by as much as the homes that were sold after they were bank owned.
Some see the increase in sales as a sign that the housing market is on the rebound. I don't see it that way. I think the numbers mean that a bunch of foreclosures sold because the prices were so low and the tax incentive helped fuel the buying.
The big change between this year and last year is that the inventory of homes on the market was much lower during the first hafl of 2009 than in 2008.