Kelley’s Market Trends: Residential Market Based on Lot Size

The most active segment of the market are for homes on lots that are smaller than three acres

By Jim Kelley

Last week I broke down the Flathead County housing market based on price distribution, so this week I’ve broken it down based on lot size.

This graph shows the distribution of current listings and the last 12 months of sales by lot size. Of the 1,732 residential sales in the last 12 months, 41 percent were on lots that were smaller than a half acre. At this time there are 1,222 residential listings and only 25 percent are on similar sized lots. With 706 sales on small lots and a current inventory of 306 listings, this means that there is currently around five months of inventory for non-waterfront homes on small lots. These homes on small lots had a median price of $216,736, which is below the overall median of $242,500 in Flathead County.

As we move to homes on five- to 10-acre tracts, we find that they account for 6 percent of the sales and 7 percent of the current listings. With 100 sales in the last year and 90 current listings, this tells us that there is currently around 10 months inventory of homes on five to 10 acres. These homes had a median sales price in the last year of $350,000.

Waterfront homes accounted for 5 percent of the sales in the last year, but makeup 15 percent of the current listings, with 25 months of current inventory that is on the market. In the last year, these homes had a median sales price of $575,000 and those that did sell were typically on the market for approximately one year.

The most active segment of the market are for homes on lots that are smaller than three acres, with no water frontage. These homes account for 75 percent of the sales and currently have seven months of inventory. These homes had a median sales price in the last year of $220,000 and a median marketing time of around three months.

Regardless of the type or lot size of the property, price is a key factor. Properties that are listed at prices that are not competitive with other homes that are on the market and have sold, are unlikely to sell. Properties that are overpriced become shopworn to a point that buyers won’t even look at them and when they do sell, it is often at a price that is below the rest of the market. This is because market participants have concluded that if it hadn’t already sold after an extended time on the market, then there must be something wrong with the property and only make offers that reflect that discount.

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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