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Listing a house, or advising your buyers this spring has been unusually tricky. We live in politically uncertain times and that translates very quickly to an uncertain market. I’m the kind of girl that likes looking for trends and patterns. I like knowing that when the daffodils start to bloom the market will get going for the year ahead. Within a couple of weeks there would be a jump in the number of houses being listed, usually selling quickly and usually for slightly higher prices than asked for. A good agent could pretty accurately predict which neighborhoods would move faster, which slower and at what price-points. This year the sine-wave looks more like static, instead of a smooth rise toward June which generally tops out around the beginning of July, staying even through August before rising slightly again in September and then dropping into December, we are seeing a very different pattern. Houses that might usually have sold quickly are not only taking a bit longer, but also taking at least one price reduction to get the job done; others are seeing multiple offers and then buyers remorse so back up offers are crucial to obtain as quite often they do come into play. Its a constant conversation in the office as we all try to get a handle on how the market is looking TODAY, looking for a prediction for next week or next month.
Politics plays a big role in how comfortable buyers are in committing to such a large chunk of their budget. Are their jobs safe? Will interest rates rise? Should they wait this period out? There are no good answers to give (well except the interest rates – we are pretty certain there’s no movement there) and fear of the unknown stops people in their tracks.
Another major difference is the lack of NEED to purchase. Our rental market is saturated with apartments offering first (and sometimes second) month free, short term leases of six months still come with incentives. Sellers can easily bank their capital, rent for a few months or a year as they watch the market for exactly the right home to hit the market and when it does they are ready to pounce. So urgency is gone and that affects the $1m end of the market. Homes have to work harder to fulfill the needs of families, long gone are the days when we bent to the idiosyncrasies of old homes.
Lastly, first time buyers are slightly older, are renting for longer, may have slightly lower income levels and are saddled with bigger student loans. This absolutely affects the lower end of the market as these buyers believe the likelihood of amassing enough money to make a down payment is an impossible dream. They are the drivers of the whole system, if the bottom of the market slows down, then the middle gets sluggish and the top stops moving at all.
All of this just makes my job more interesting! I’m beginning to host presentations to first time buyers – A Roadmap to Buying your First Home – small groups of 8-12 with wine and nibbles held mid-week at my office in the Pearl (or your office!). I’m listing beautiful homes in that fabled $1m price range. I’m good at pricing a house so that it not only gets attention, but also offers that come in quickly with a minimum of fuss. Please let me know if I can help you!
I am both a Realtor and Interior Designer. I have transitioned from simply selling homes to selling what makes homes beautiful.
©Suze Riley 2013