Jennifer’s Market Perspective

I apologize – it has been a while since you heard from me.  It’s indicative of the kind of real estate market we are in:  stuck in high gear.  It has been the busiest spring in a long time, in large part because buyers want to buy and there is very little on the market.  Buyers are competing at a level I have not seen since 2005 and average sales for the 381 single family homes closed since May 1, 2012 are 109.91% of asking price.*

Which leads to this surprising post Spring 2012 fact:  If you own a home, it might be worth more than you think it is.  Values in a quite a few neighborhoods are up more than 10% in the first half of 2012 (see chart below).  This means you may have options of which you are not aware.  If you need an updated value on your home, I am happy to provide it.  If you decide you want to sell, intensive property preparation and realistic pricing will really pay off.  I have just the right skills to help with both, so please don’t hesitate to ask or recommend me to friends.

Clients are asking what is causing this imbalance between sellers (too few) and buyers (too many).  My best theory is that people who own homes and would normally be trading up don’t have quite enough equity or income to pull it off and so are staying put.  Most of the homes being sold seem to be people moving out of the area, divorces, distressed sales and estates.  So with only that driving listings and with such attractive interest rates and job growth in the area driving purchasers the imbalance seems likely to continue for at least a little while longer.  As home owner’s equity grows (or they realize that it has grown), they might start to trade up in a more normal pattern, which would do a lot to correct the imbalance.

If you have been thinking of buying, you are not alone.  But even though it can be very frustrating right now, it is a good time to buy with super low interest rates and prices just starting what seems like it will be a long-term climb.  As with past up cycles, prices that seem outrageous right now will look genius in the rear view mirror.  Be assured – it isn’t just “Tulip Mania.”  The fundamental value of living in our beautiful city seems at the beginning of a long upward trend so act decisively and with confidence!  (My buyer clients have been particularly successful this spring with pre-emptive offers, which means they are making offers prior to other buyers even getting a peek.  They are able to do this for two reasons:  a good understanding of the market so they know a good value when they see it and my home finding techniques.  I found a home for one family by knocking on the door of a home in foreclosure.  THAT was an adventure I can tell you about sometime.  One I would be happy to repeat on behalf of you or yours so just ask!)