ALABAMA REAL ESTATE JOURNAL

Nick Saban Will Lose, Eventually

Yes, he will. Sorry, Bama fans, it’s just the facts.
Maybe he has already lost by the time you read this, although I think it’s not very likely.
We all know it. All of college football looks on helplessly as Saban continues to chew through opponents like he does his Red Man tobacco and Little Debbie snacks.
If you talk to Alabama fans, even the most rabid will admit that it can’t last forever. Similarly, lifelong Auburn fans like me hope he loses but have a grumbling respect for what Saban has done in Tuscaloosa. Saturday after Saturday, year after year, the wins continue to pile up.
It has to stop sometime, right? Of course it does. We can all accede to that intellectually. In theory. For argument’s sake. But what if you had to bet your entire net worth on if the Tide will win or lose THIS Saturday? That’s when the theoretical becomes practical.
It’s easy to predict that something will happen eventually. The real skill (or luck) that is valuable is being able to call when it will happen in reality.
The Lake Martin waterfront real estate market has been on a seller’s market tear for quite a few years, now. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any hotter, along comes COVID-19. The corona-fueled sales of 2020 reached heights we have never seen before.
The number of waterfront home sales were up 31% in 2020 versus the best year ever of 2019. Amazingly, the number of lots sold was up 147% from the prior year and about 43% from its best year ever. It was like throwing gasoline on a fire.
When will it end? That is the real question. When will prices stop going up and when will there be more homes and lots for sale on the Lake Martin market?
I think everyone can agree that this cannot last forever. When I talk to buyers and sellers alike, I have not met a single person that thinks that this meteoric market will go on indefinitely. So how will we know? What market factors should we consider to try and gain some insight to the future?
To gain some insight, I talked to Gordon Pickler. Gordon’s the dean of Lake Martin real estate agents, having sold here through all kinds of markets, eight or nine presidents, and three different rule curves. Gordon looks at it macro-economically. He told me that he watches the alternative investments to real estate. His theory is that as long as home owners don’t have other investment options that are either more profitable or less risky, then it will be hard to convince them to give up a sky rocketing asset like Lake Martin real estate. That’s why so many people tend to hold on to their homes until death do they part.
I am just one person, with one opinion, but I pay very close attention to the numbers of homes sold in a month, as compared to the same month in the prior year. In other words, did July 2021 out-sell July of 2020? It is not my own idea. About eleven years ago, I read a really interesting research paper that proved (at least to me) the theory that numbers of homes sold are the leading indicator of home prices. As goes homes sold, so goes prices.
Any month can be an outlier so I try to watch the overall trends to try and see where the market is going. The facts show us that so far in 2021, we are losing badly to 2020. Lake Martin is a seasonal market, with most of our sales coming in the warm months. June, July, and August of 2021 have about 40% fewer homes sold than their counterparts in 2020. It is not even close.
Does that mean that we have seen the peak of the seller’s market here at Lake Martin?
I don’t think we can make that call yet. Three months does not make a market trend. Plus, the bulls would point out that you can’t compare a “normal” year like 2021 to the COVID-19 year of 2020.  I might ask, “why not?” Then the bulls might respond with, “okay, numbers of homes sold are way down but prices are still going up and there is nothing to sell.” Touche.
That’s why I think we will need to let all of 2021 play out before we step back and make a judgment on where we are as a market. We need more information. But rest assured, Lake Martin. This market will slow down some time in the future. It can’t last forever.  Buyers will have their day.
Of course, by then, Bama might have won another 30 in a row and Saban will have championship rings for his toes.
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