A TIME TO BUY or A TIME TO SELL?
Greetings from St. John. How things have changed in a few short years. The St. John Real Estate market has slowed substantially from its peak in 2004. On April 18th in 2004 The St. John MLS showed only 43 homes and 120 lots for sale. Today we have 128 homes (a 300% increase) and 290 lots (about a 240% increase) listed for sale.
After soaring for over 4 years, prices have been slowly drifting back to earth and buyers are taking notice. Home sales are actually slightly ahead of 2004 so far this year with 12 closed sales vs. 10 YTD in Ã¢â‚¬â„¢04 and with contracted homes at an even pace. The average price of a home so far this year is about $2.5 million though that figure is skewed due to the sale of a $14,000,000 home in Peter Bay. However, after removing the highest sale ($14,000,000) and the lowest ($295,000) the average is then $1.6 million, about the same as last year and about 10% below 2004.
Compared to 2004, land sales have languished with only 7 lots having sold so far this year and with only 13 currently under contract. By this time in 2004 there were 25 closed land sales and 30 lots under contract. The median sales price of undeveloped lots this year is only $260,000 compared to $405,000 for the same period last year.
One contributing factor to weak land sales may be that the islandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s builders have such a backlog of projects that it could take several years from the time one purchases property to finally get a house completed. The ferry service from St. Thomas has added ferries on the half hour during morning and afternoon peak times to accommodate the hundreds of workers who travel back and forth daily as part of our building boom. However, architects I know tell me they are looking for new projects as many customers have put their plans on hold. This means that the building pace may soon slow down as well.
Bottom line: It is a great time to buy as many prospective purchasers have already discovered. St. John is still a terrific place to live and even with all the growth we are still proud to have no traffic lights on the island Ã¢â‚¬â€œ though we will soon have a Ã¢â‚¬Å“Round-aboutÃ¢â‚¬Â! (see April 16, 2007 Blog). Marty.
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