Inventory shortages now spreading throughout the region
Back in 2006, I was doing an interview with a reporter at a local paper who wanted to do a story on the soaring prices and home shortages. I wanted to talk about the risky mortgages being done that were going to bring down the industry – but they seemingly already had the story written and were just looking for quotes to support their position that prices were heading to the stratosphere. Now, in mid 2008, the situation is just the opposite. I have reporters who want to write doom and gloom stories about the housing market, and yet I'm seeing multiple offers, inventory shortages, and buyers who are waiting and waiting for decent listings to come on. Again, the reporters aren't interested in that story at all – seemingly because the pundits have their viewpoint – and anything contrary to it just doesn't fit the bill.
Well, surprisingly enough, and way, way under the radar screen, the real estate market has gone CRAZY the past month. Suddenly we're seeing serious inven- tory shortages across the board. Just in the last week alone, I've been in several multiple-offer situations, in everything from simple 3BR split entries, to homes well into the higher ranges. Sellers, wary that the spring market is right around the corner, have started sticking to their guns a bit more, just to see what the spring market may hold. Without question, prices had come down from where we were at the peak, but relative to the comps in the surrounding areas, we seem to be on the verge of a spike that will likely take us through the spring market nicely. We've already cleared out most of the older inventory, and seem to be well on the road for a recovery.
This recovery will not, by any means, take the shape of a rocket ship heading for the moon … but rather will be felt by a flattening of pricing which will likely last through the end of 2008 – putting an end to the severe discounting that was seen in 2007. After a flat 2009, I would predict we'll see prices climb substantially starting early in 2010, and while few will be throwing caution to the wind and overpaying for property – we'll at least be on our way to some normalcy.
Of course, for those people who currently own a property in our region, this may be the perfect opportunity to make your move. While prices and Days on Market stats have been improving for the lower and mid-range homes, it's only slowly transitioning to the upper end. This will enable you to get some "post recovery" pricing on your current property, while getting pre-recovery pricing on the new one. Combined with the incredible low interest rates that are out there it could be the last great window of opportunity for a while.
How can we quantify the recovery itself? Well, in the last two weeks, I managed to close or sell eight properties, across a wide range of towns, styles and price ranges … and this is just the little blip in the market that many were hoping would herald the beginning of the rebound.
Remember, it's often not a matter of whether or not the opportunity is knocking, but whether you have the courage to open the door.
To those who have the strength of will to boldly go where so many have gone before, the long-term rewards could make it a once in a lifetime chance to get into the real estate market before things head back to the stratospheric 2005 numbers. How many of us looked around at the values then and said to themselves, "Boy, if I could ever get that home for under 400k, I'd move on it in a second"? Well, here's that chance … but it's slipping by quickly and those who fail to act now will undoubtedly be kicking themselves later wishing they had.
Thomas Edison once said, "Most don't recognize opportunity, because it's often dressed in overalls and looks like work!" Analyzing the right opportunities and the time to make that move is never easy. If it were, then life would be a far simpler place. Much as in other industries, however, heeding the advice of those who do it each and every day is often a great first step. Balance their views with your own, keep your family's needs paramount in your mind, keep a long-term view on the world, and success will ultimately find you.
Most important, if you're even remotely thinking of making a move, give me a call or drop me an e-mail …. as I likely have buyers waiting just for you.
Steve Levine is the President of Steve Levine Inc. and an agent for REMAX First Choice. He has been ranked as the Top REMAX Agent in New England for the last nine years, and is the 2008 recipient of the REMAX Community Service Award, and the 2007 Massachusetts Association of Realtors Good Neighbor Award. He can be reached at 508-735-4663 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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