A reader asked for an updated figure on the number of spec houses currently on the market and I’m happy to oblige. Without examining each and every listing, I can only estimate, but I ran a search for houses built in 2006 to date, on the assumption that most are being offered by their builder and, if not, they’re new enough to compete with other houses that have remained vacant – besides, I know of several 2004 and 2005 spec houses that remain unsold, so the numbers should work out about right.
Of the 795 single family and condominium units on the market today, 172 were built in 2006 or later. Fifty-eight of those are condos so we have 114 new single families for sale. Nine of the latter are priced between $10.9 million and $25 million, 61 are between $4 – $10 million. So 70 high-end spec houses, all looking for buyers. How fast are they moving? Seven sold in the past quarter and of those 7, only 1 sold in October: 16 Beechcroft, reduced 26% from $8.295 million and “dumped” for $6.150. If the market picks up, I suppose we have only ten quarters – 2 1/2 years, right? – before we’re through the inventory, assuming nothing else is completed and put up for sale until then. If this month’s activity is a harbinger of sales activity to come then, Houston, we have a (bigger) problem.