Kelley’s Market Trends: Residential Sales in January

2016 is off to a near-record start with a 17.8 percent increase over January of 2015

By Jim Kelley

Last year was the best year for residential sales since 2006, now 2016 is off to a near-record start with a 17.8 percent increase over January of 2015. This follows a 38.5 percent increase from January 2014 to January of 2015. It’s hard to say exactly why we had such a strong January, but at least part is likely due to relatively strong employment and continued low mortgage interest rates.

There were 106 residential sales in Flathead County in January compared to 90 in January of 2015. Of the January 2016 sales, 51 percent were on small urban or suburban lots, 23 percent were on half acre to three-acre lots and 11 percent were on three to 20-acre tracts.

The median sales price this January was $230,750, which is 3.7 percent higher than the January 2015 median, but 4.8 percent lower than the overall median for 2015. This is to be expected because the majority of the higher valued lake and recreation homes will typically be sold in the middle part of the year.

The current overall inventory level is about the same as it was a year ago, however, only 21 percent of the overall inventory is priced below the January median of $230,750.

In January there were only nine bank-owned or distressed sales, compared to 12 in January of 2015.   Non-distressed sales represented 91.4 percent of the market this January, compared to 86.7 percent for the same period in 2015.

Overall, we can conclude that 2016 has gotten off to a very good start for residential home sales.

In 1981, Jim started Kelley Appraisal in Kalispell and has since built an extensive data base of economic and real estate-related data on northwestern Montana. Over the last several years, he has published annual reports on the Flathead Real Estate Market and been a guest speaker on numerous occasions for various groups in the Flathead.

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