Comparing the fourth quarter of 2013 to 2012, sales prices in Forsyth County look pretty solid. While the number of sales only rose 4 percent, average sales prices jumped 13 percent from the previous year.
On the surface, it is evident that the sharp jump in asking prices (22 percent higher for 2013) led to the rise in sales prices.
The main reason for the big jump is inventory, or lack of it. Not reflected in the chart below, inventory levels at the end of 2013 were 13 percent lower than 2012.
So even with the relatively flat sales, lower inventory has resulted in the supply of homes dropping from over four months at the end of 2012 to less than a three-month supply today.
But there is another factor affecting sales, one related to inventory that can't be tracked or recorded. It is the quality of inventory. I've spoken with several of our buyers' agents who have been repeating a constant refrain: "My buyers can't find anything good out there."
While inventory is down, total transactions are only up slightly because buyers are searching for what they want – and that typically means updated and move-in ready. So, the take away for sellers would be to put your home in the best condition possible – if costs allow. Buyers, if you're looking for a better deal, then consider doing the updates yourself – just understand first what those costs are and what the returns would likely be.