What Happend to the Spring Market?

In a post earlier this year I interviewed four of the top real estate agents in the Greater Philadelphia Metro area about their thoughts on the market. All four felt that inventory, namely the lack of, was going to be the biggest factor in the market going forward…and I totally agreed with them.

Well, here it is half way through 2014 and I’m seeing some odd trends. Take a look at the numbers below that were taken right from the TrendMLS.  Thank you, TReND MLS for publishing this great info.

The Coyle Group - Philadelphia Stats - Appraiser

The Coyle Group - Bucks Stats - Appraiser   The Coyle Group - Chester Stats - Appraiser   The Coyle Group - Montgomery Stats - Appraiser

In Philadelphia and the surrounding “collar” counties (Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery) all of the inventory levels increased over the 2013 levels.  Adding to that, the data indicates that settled sales are flat or down compared to last year.  In fact, Philly, Bucks and Delaware counties are showing signs of over-supply (7 months of inventory being the lower end of what many in the industry would classify as an over-supply).

What?! The inventory levels were supposed to be low. It was a Buyer’s market, no one was selling. Buyers were chomping at the bit to jump on any listing that popped up. There were going to be bidding wars and homes selling for thousands over asking price. What happened?!?!   (Now, I know there are agents out there who are having a fabulous Spring and Summer.  I’m just pointing out that the numbers suggest a different trend.)

Well, I honestly think it was the brutal winter we had. It forced Buyers to the sideline and effectively killed the Spring Selling Season. Essentially, the Spring Selling Season never happened and inventory began to pile up as Buyers went into Summer-mode.  Now, typically we will see a bump in Buyer activity once Summer is over and school starts, again.

Hopefully, that will be the case this year, too. What are your thoughts on how the 2014 market is playing out?

 

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia appraisers is a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing appraisals.  If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call.  We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have.  For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com  You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

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Zillow vs The Coyle Group Part III

The Coyle Group vs Zillow Part III

It’s that time again for the annual match up between Zillow and The Coyle Group.  This year we randomly selected 25 appraisals completed by our office with in the past 3 months.  The appraisals were of properties across Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Bucks County, Delaware County and Chester County.  Housing styles ranged from simple South Philly row homes to Center City condos (you’re welcome Mark) to Main Line mansions.

Below is a chart of the results.  The first column shows where the property is located, the second The Coyle Group’s appraised value and the third Zillow’s Zestimate.  The last column shows how high or low Zillow was relative to our appraised values.

Property

 Appraisal

 

 Zillow Zestimate

Difference

Rittenhouse Square Townhse  $    990,000.00    $     954,000.00

3.63%

Chestnut Hill Twin  $    285,000.00    $     329,000.00

15.43%

Ambler Colonial  $    570,000.00    $     396,000.00

54.47%

Burholme Twin  $    125,000.00    $     138,000.00

10.40%

Media Split Level  $    325,000.00    $     251,000.00

29.48%

Mount Airy Twin  $    310,000.00    $     259,000.00

9.69%

Northeast Philly Row  $    171,000.00    $     172,000.00

0.58%

Hatboro Split Level  $    225,000.00    $     244,000.00

8.44%

Gladwyne Colonial  $    600,000.00    $     758,000.00

26.33%

Society Hill Townhouse 1  $    875,000.00    $     848,000.00

3.18%

Conshohocken Single  $    190,000.00    $     252,000.00

32.63%

Flourtown Colonial  $    735,000.00    $     698,000.00

5.30%

West Chester Colonial  $  1,300,000.00    $  1,000,000.00

30.00%

Society Hill Townhouse 2  $  2,100,000.00    $     922,000.00

127.76%

Chestnut Hill Colonial  $    975,000.00    $     857,000.00

13.77%

Bryn Mawr Colonial  $    770,000.00    $     750,000.00

2.67%

Havertown Cape Cod  $    295,000.00    $     286,000.00

3.14%

South Philly Row  $    186,000.00    $     151,000.00

23.17%

Doylestown Colonial  $    395,000.00    $     337,000.00

17.21%

Villanova Tudor  $  1,550,000.00    $  1,430,000.00

8.39%

Roxborough Row  $    240,000.00    $     210,000.00

14.20%

Warrington Colonial  $    435,000.00    $     378,000.00

13.10%

Condo – The Philadelphian  $    675,000.00    $     634,000.00

6.07%

Condo – Queen Village  $    180,000.00    $     183,000.00

1.63%

Lafayette Hill Colonial  $    325,000.00    $     275,000.00

15.38%

 

The results are pretty amazing.  In a few comparisons, Zillow was right on target.  For instance, I would say that they were spot-on with the Northeast Philly Row and the Queen Village Condo.  They were fairly close with number of others including the Rittenhouse Square Townhouse, Society Hill Townhouse 1, the Bryn Mawr Colonial and Havertown Cape.

However, Zillow completely whiffed on a number of others, most notably the Society Hill Townhouse 2.  Zillow wasn’t even close.  The Zestimate missed the mark by more than 127%.  That’s crazy considering there was a recorded sale of this property in 2013 for $1.85M.  This is where having a human being analyze the market data is so crucial.  All the fancy algorithms and computer models overlooked the simple fact that this property sold only months ago for twice the Zestimate amount.  We appraised the property a couple months after the sale and following a renovation of the kitchen and baths.

On average, including the Society Hill 2 property, the Zillow Zestimate was 23.42% lower than the appraised value.  Excluding the Society Hill 2 property, Zillow was still off by 16.47%.  When Zillow over-Zestimated they did so by 11.25%, on average.  These are some significant numbers.  If you were selling and used a Zestimate to potentially under-price your house, you could be leaving huge sums of money on the table.  If you overpriced, the market would likely pass you by in favor of more competitively priced homes.  Eventually, you would have to reduce your price and by that time many of the interested buyers will have moved on.

Philadelphia and the surrounding counties are such a patchwork of real estate markets that computers and algorithms can’t possibly take into account the individual nuances.  Zillow doesn’t take into consideration if there’s a vacant house next to your property or a golf course.  Zillow looks at them as being the same. That’s why having a knowledgeable appraiser to physically inspect the property is so important to realizing a correct value.  Nothing (so far) beats having a live human being appraising your property.

Bottom line, Zillow is not all bad.  It is not an appraisal but it is a good place to start.  The neighborhood data, general sales information, graphs and comparative tools are great and very user-friendly.  However, if you are looking to properly price your home, I would pass Zillow by and get some advice from a good local agent or a certified appraiser.

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing appraisals.  If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call.  We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have.  For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com  You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

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2013 Philadelphia Region’s Most Expensive Homes

Let’s face it, 2013 is pretty much over.  With Christmas falling on a Wednesday and New Year’s Eve and Day following shortly thereafter, there are only about 8 “real” work days left.  So, it seems like a perfect time to take a look back at the 2013 real estate market.  In particular, let’s take a look at the ultra high-end sales in the market.*

The Philadelphia Metro Area (Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Bucks County, Delaware County & Chester County) had its fair share of heavy hitters this year.  In total there were 20 sales over $3,000,000 and there are currently five sales pending over that amount.

The Coyle Group - Bucks County MansionBucks County posted a $3,300,000 sale with the property at 6356 Meetinghouse Road, in New Hope.  In this case, the price gets you a 20-year-old, 12, 376 Sq Ft, Colonial situated on 92.78 acres.  A perfect little “country” getaway home for New Yorkers.

 

 

The Coyle Group - Villanova MansionIn the Villanova section of Delaware County there was a $4,000,000 sale at 265 Abrahams Lane.  What’s interesting is that price was achieved at auction, down from the original $7,695,000 list price.  Looks like a pretty good deal for the 12-year-old, 10,268 Sq Ft, Mansion sitting on 9.90 Main Line acres. 

 

The Coyle Group - Philadelphia Rittenhouse Mansion

 

At $4,200,000 cash, the “McIlhenny” Mansion, at 1914-16 Rittenhouse Square was the highest sale in Philadelphia.  This mansion faces Rittenhouse Square and is built on five property lots.  The 8,600 Sf Ft structure was listed as being “in need of complete restoration.”  Kind of pricey for a fixer-upper but, that being said, there is nothing else like it in Philadelphia.  New owner Bart Blatstein just received the “go ahead” from the planning commission for renovations to the historic property.

 

 The Coyle Group - Chester County Mansion

Saddle up!  If you like privacy, views and horses, and you happen to have $5,000,000 lying around then you could have purchased the property at 2300 Hilltop View Road, in Chester County.  This 27-year-old, 10,061 Sq Ft, Converted Barn sits on 143.70 acres.  This is a true equestrian property with 14 stalls, paddocks, indoor riding ring, tack room and abuts 800 acres of preserved land. 

 

The Coyle Group - Montgomery County MansionThe honor of being the most expensive home in the Philadelphia Metro Area for 2013 goes to 648 Creighton Road, in Villanova.  This Tudor Mansion is over 80 years old and boasts 13,464 Sq Ft of living space situated on 3.13 acres, in Lower Merion.  This is a classic Main Line residence with a $5,700,000 price tag to prove it.

 

 

The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy and Tax Appeal.  If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call.  We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have.  For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com  You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

* Only sales advertised in the MLS were included.  No private sales were used.  Photos are courtesy of TReND MLS.

 

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The Coyle Group – YouTube

The Coyle Group Real Estate Appraisal Video

Please watch our new video that outlines many of the services that the real estate appraisers at The Coyle Group provide to attorneys, accountants and private individuals across Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Bucks County, Delaware County & Chester County.

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If You Had $1,000,000

Each year I like to take a look at the area to see what $1,000,000 can buy you in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs.  Here’s what I found…

In Philadelphia, $1MM can get you this stylish, luxury Contemporary in Chestnut Hill with 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths and 4,336 SqFt of living space.  It also gets you a location on corner of Germantown Avenue, not very private.

 

 

 

The search in Bucks County takes us to Buckingham Township, where for $1MM you can have this 5,364SqFt Colonial with 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, an in-ground pool, 3 car garage, finished walk-out basement on 2.39 acres.  Not bad!

 

 

 

The million dollar offerings in Delaware County took us to Haverford Township.  There, a cool million can get you this 100-year-old stone residence designed by Fred Bissinger.  It features 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, with 2,597SqFt of living space and an in-ground pool.

 

 

 

 In Montgomery County a $1MM can get you into this nice stone Cape situated on 2.24 acres on the Main Line, in Gladwyne.  The house boasts 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths and approximately 4,369SF of living space.  You also get a three car detached garage and access to the award-winning Lower Merion schools.

 

 

 

 Chester County, offers the most bang for the buck by far!  If you want a little fixer upper you can grab this place in Chadds Ford, a 231 year old farmhouse on 14.9 acres that includes barns, stone walls, a pool and pond.  The main house had 4,539SF, 6 bedrooms and 4.5 baths.  There is also a 3 bedroom 2 bath guest house.  If you happen to have an additional $1.85MM laying around you can also buy the adjacent 56 acre parcel for a little more privacy!

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What is an Absorption Rate?

The Absorption Rate measures the relationship between a real estate market’s supply and demand.  The total number of available homes (inventory = listings and pending sales) is divided by the total number of homes sold in the previous month.   The resulting number represents the number of months it would take, at that same pace, to sell the entire inventory of homes.  It this does not take into count the number of houses which will eventually come on the market in addition to those already for sale.

Knowing your area’s Absorption Rate (AR), can help you track trends.  Understanding your market and where it is headed is very important for both sellers and buyers.  It allows buyers and sellers to understand better why some homes may sell faster than other and to develop effective pricing strategies.

Calculating an AR is not difficult but you will need access to the following information:

  • How many listings are currently on the market in a given area? Be sure to include both active and pending homes.
  • How many homes sold last month?

Once you have those numbers, you will need to:

  • Add the number of Active/Pending Listings together
  • Multiply the number of homes Sold Last Month by 12.  Then, divide that number by 52 for the weekly number of homes sold.
  • Then, divide the number of Active by the number of sold per week
  • This will give you the weekly AR.  For a monthly AR simply divide the weekly AR by 4.

Here’s an example for Montgomery County.  In November 2011 there were 554 settled sales.  Currently, there are 4,481 active listings and 230 pending sales.

Listings + Pendings = Actives

4481 + 230 = 4711

Homes Sold  X 12 = Annualized Sales

554 X 12 = 6,648/52 = 127.85 Week

4711 / 127.85 = 36.84 Weeks

36.84 Weeks / 4 Weeks per month = 9.21 months of inventory

The result is an Absorption Rate of 9.21 Months.  What this really means is that it will take 9.21 months for the market, at the current rate, to absorb the current inventory of homes.  This assumes that no new homes will be added to the existing inventory.

One good thing about absorption rates is that they can be tailored to specific neighborhoods and price ranges. So how can an absorption rate study assist buyers and sellers?

Narrowing an absorption rate study to a certain type of home, in a specific neighborhood, at a particular price point, enables a buyer or seller to first determine the nature of their local market (is it a buyer or sellers market) and then establish a listing or offer price, accordingly.

For instance, in Lower Merion, the overall AR for the township is 8 months.  However, if we take a look at the luxury market within Lower Merion (homes over $2MM) we see a very different picture begins to appear.  The luxury market currently has a 44 month inventory.  Meaning if you have a luxury home in Lower Merion, it could take over 3.6 years for you to sell it.  This could be a problem for someone who needs to sell quickly.  In this case, having the AR could prompt the seller to rethink their asking price.

Once we know the AR, we can determine what kind of market we are in.  That information can then be used by sellers to price their homes more effectively and hopefully reduce days on market.  For buyers, this information can help you determine if you are in a Buyers or Sellers Market and to structure your offer, accordingly.

Buyer’s Market: Over 7 months of supply
Balanced Market: 5 to 7 months of supply
Seller’s Market: Less than 5 months of supply

The AR is not the only thing you will need to determine a market’s condition.  Specific property features, condition, location and of course price will typically be more important in determining how fast a property will actually sell than any statistical formula.

If you have any questions about Absorption Rates or need assistance calculating the AR for a specific market or property type please feel free to contact us through this blog or email us at appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

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The Roxborough Row

 

Philadelphia is known as a city of neighborhoods. When Philadelphians meet one another for the first time it’s not long before someone asks “what neighborhood are you from?”

Neighborhoods can be as small as a few square blocks or cover large sections of the city. One such neighborhood is the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. It occupies much of the northwestern portion of the City abutting Montgomery County, along with Manayunk and Chestnut Hill. It has always been a solid, working class area with strong family values and sensibilities.

The staple of the Roxborough housing stock is the three bedroom, single family attached rowhome or townhouse. Many were built to satisfy the housing needs of the local factory workers and to keep up with urban sprawl. Depending on which part of the Boro you are talking about the homes were generally built between 1865 and 1970. These are still very popular housing choices for first time homeowners and investors.

Below is a chart of the sales activity of the typical 3 bedroom Roxborough Row over the the past four quarters (2009 Q4 – 2010 Q3). As you can see, the number of sales spiked to 36 in 2010 Q2. This is a direct result of the tax credit that was being offered to first time homebuyers. The three bedroom Roxborough Row was essentially made for this program due to its attractiveness to first time buyers and those targeted buy the tax credit program. You will notice that in 2010 Q3, after the sunset of the credit, sales of the Rows dropped off by more than 60%, which was just where sales were prior to the credit program.

The next chart compares the Average and Median Sale Price for three bedroom Roxborough Rows over the same time period. In 2010 Q1, the Average Price spikes up to $271,042 despite only 12 sales during that quarter. The reason for the skewed average is two or three higher sales of newer townhouses that pulled the average up. Note that the Median Sale price tracks right along with the other quarters. The Median Sale Price for Roxborough Row has hovered between $204,900 in 2009 Q4 to a high of $214,500 in 2010 Q1. In 2010 Q2, the median began to settle into a more traditional trend eventually getting back down to $205,250 in 2010Q3…almost even with where it was in 2009Q4, prior to the tax credit.

It goes to show, that despite government interference with credits and incentives, the markets will correct themselves. It also goes to show that the Roxborough Row is the backbone of this market and can withstand outside market influences. Perhaps that’s why it’s been around for so long and continues to show consistent and measurable value.

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