Waterfront Sales Stabilize in 2014
Happy New Year! The holidays are now behind us and we have time to take a look at the past year in Flathead Lake real estate sales, and look forward to what we might expect in the coming year.
The 2014 sales numbers have been finalized and confirm some interesting trends that we had been following throughout the year. Overall sales were down about 15% in volume, and prices stabilized or slightly improved with only 44 total sales reported in the MLS.
The drop in sales volume is a bit puzzling to many market watchers, as it seems that the fundamentals for second home buyers is strong in most of our major feeder markets. The national real estate trends are all positive with regards to prices and interest rates, the stock markets are generally up, and the mid-term elections are behind us. It would seem that there is still quite a bit of cash on the sidelines; with lake home investors remaining more timid than would be expected compared to historical cycles.
In addition to conservative buyers, the Flathead Lake real estate inventory has shifted somewhat as well. The active listings in today’s market generally larger, higher priced pieces as compared to the past three years.
The overall outlook for 2015 is positive. We are likely to average 150-200 waterfront listings around the lake during the warmer months, providing plenty of opportunities for buyers to find some great values on Flathead Lake.
Annual Sales Date:
Sales by Area
When comparing 2014 Flathead Lake real estate sales to the previous year, a significant trend appeared in the geographical location of those sales. The largest drop based on transaction count and sales volume occurred at the northern end of the lake in the Lakeside/Somers/Bigfork communities. The number of transactions were essentially half (31 in 2103 compared to 16 in 2014), representing a 30% reduction in sales volume.
In contrast, the sales data in the Polson and lower west shore regions of the lake held relatively constant from 2013 to 2014.
Active Waterfront Listings
The number of Flathead Lake real estate waterfront listings is holding relatively steady compared to last year. Both land and residential listings are nearly identical to the available inventory one year ago this month.
Median list prices for residential listings have trended upward from $900k to the nearly $1.0M range over the course of the past four months. The lower priced inventory has all but been depleted over the past 24-36 months, resulting in a higher-priced inventory. Median prices for waterfront land have held relatively steady over the past 12 months at around $600k.