2013 saw a robust increase in housing prices. In fact the median price rose 12-15% over that year. 2014 has seen a dramatic slow down in the rate of increase however. It is likely that this year will end up somewhere in the 3-5% appreciation range. This is by no means a negative. Appreciation is one of the core values to owning real estate. I believe we still have the same seller's market conditions as we did last year but prices are being held back by an overall sluggish economy. Sustained double digit growth requires a roaring economy. We haven't heard an economic 'roar' in quite a while. We are seeing a bit of a 'purr' however.
Some sellers in the market place are beginning to price their listed property 3-5% above the market. That tactic worked last year but is not a winner in 2014. Buyers are plentiful but they are limited to their financial ability to borrow money. Sellers that overprice their homes in this current situation will likely do nothing more than delay the sale of their house. The trick in this market is to have the home between 98-102% of market value. Above market should be for a truly move-in ready, updated or modern home. Bear in mind that some sellers are overpriced out of necessity. Many homeowners that bought near the top of the market found themselves horribly upside down and are just now closing in on positive loan to value. Sometimes overpriced listings are driven by greed and sometimes by financial necessity.
Buyers need to recognize that these move-in ready modern or updated properties will fetch high prices and if they are under market they will likely get over asking offers. A good buyer's agent is critical in these kinds of modest growth markets. An experienced agent can help buyers determine where to come in on offers to get the best deal possible and still acquire the home.
The most important thing to keep in mind is the mainstream media. These guys love to take subtle changes and turn them into a catastrophe or a rampaging bull depending on the conditions. In most cases things are much more modest than the big circus media makes them out to be.
Despite the current "seller's market" it is still a good time to buy a home. Low interest rates and modest appreciation still favor buyers. This current real estate market is very healthy and favors both buyers and sellers. Get out there and find your dream home.