Friday, November 29, 2019

It's Black Friday!

Well if there was a real estate store the deals would be amazing right? There isn't a real estate store; well not in the traditional sense at least. But if there is a "Black Friday deal" in real estate it is probably going to be found between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

Sellers keeping their home open to buyer tours during the holidays are quite likely VERY ready to make a deal. And buyers that are trudging around in the rain and snow are probably pretty serious about making an OFFER on the right house.

Buyers should not get too excited about a crazy deal because the real estate market is not as malleable as brick and mortar retail stores or the Cyber Monday craziness we'll see next week. Not at all, really. Buyers and sellers are both reasonably well informed these days and most are represented by a professional. But the idea that both the seller and buyer are almost certainly motivated to act is a big bonus to both parties.

The real problem is simply the fact that fewer houses are available during the holidays and fewer buyers are looking as well. The actual impact on pricing during this five week period is usually not noticeable. What is noticeable is that willingness to ACT from both parties. That means sellers should pay attention to offer opportunities and buyers should be willing to write them. December is the month for deals because December is a month where people are ready to take action.

So get ready real estate peeps, December is about to arrive.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Seller Beware!

The so-called i-buyer programs are making their way across the USA with some markets seeing strong penetration by internet firms offering to buy homes. The companies offering these programs include some national giants like Zillow.

Sellers need to be aware that enough of these transactions have closed to provide a large pool of data and these plans often cost sellers dearly. Many sellers are attracted to the idea of NOT paying a real estate commission to a brokerage. What they seem to overlook is the "service fee" applied to these i-buyer programs that are often MORE than a typical real estate brokerage fee. On top of that they buy the house for a price that is usually about 10% UNDER the local market value.

Make no mistake these guys are going to resell the house. They are going to make a fat profit and it comes at seller's expense. Data shows that the typical seller nets about 10% LESS money using these methods. Sure they are fast, they can often close the deal in 10 days. They allow sellers to pack up and move and things are convenient for the seller. But that convenience comes at an awful price. A $350,000 house might take 4-6 weeks to sell in our market right now but I can't imagine someone living in a $350k house making $25,000 a month in income so why would they leave that much money on the table save a few weeks time?

I could imagine a handful of situations where these types of offers are a viable option for a seller. But the overwhelming majority of sellers will be far better off hiring a local real estate pro to help them sell. I sell a lot of houses and I make a pretty good living, I am NOT going to give an extra $25,000 of my hard earned cash to some corporate, Wall Street scumbag to profiteer off my stupidity. Seller's are well advised to do a lot of research into these i-buy offers. There has never been a free lunch, and there still isn't.

Seller beware!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Houses taking a little longer to sell

Our local resale home market remains strong but other than the sub median price market conditions are mostly neutral. In Clark County buyers seeking homes priced under $375,000 will find sellers at a slight advantage but as the price pushes north of the median price conditions quickly neutralize.

There are still plenty of buyers but resale homes are now competing with a fairly large inventory of new construction and that means buyers in the $375k plus price range have more options than they have seen in several years. Pricing seems to be holding steady at the moment but marketing times are increasing. A well priced home will sell quickly and that is an indicator that buyers are plentiful. When buyers have lots of choices however, they will be picky and that means the sellers have to be patient and wait for the buyer that falls in love with their house.

Sellers that find themselves in a contingent contract and have to sell cannot afford to try and get top dollar because top dollar will take 90 days or more to fetch unless your house is in that sub median price range that remains hot.

This is a symptom of success, the builders have rushed in to fill the demand and now we have reached a point where inventory levels are higher and in the top half of the market buyers can be a bit choosy. Builders can't afford the build a traditional detached house for much less than $350,000 these days so buyers in the entry level pricing are looking at attached housing or an older resale home. Inventory in that arena is much tighter so pricing favors sellers to some degree.

Overall our local real estate market is pretty darn healthy and that is a good thing!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Stock Market Rally Pushed Rates Up!

It is not uncommon at all, in fact it is quite normal to see mortgage rates move up when the stock market is strong. The last several days saw a tremendous run up on wall street with nearly every index blasting through all time records. Mortgages are competing with stocks for investor cash and equity has been moving to stocks all week. Investors are not looking for higher returns on mortgages and we saw a sharp adjustment yesterday.

Buyers don't need to panic, but this is an example of the potential for volatility in mortgages and thus the buying power of borrowers. This is a great time of year to buy a house. It tends to be a little more quiet and sellers are anxious about getting an offer before the holidays. Meanwhile sellers can rest assured that the people outside braving the chillier late autumn temps along with rain and snow are serious about buying a house.

Buyers can relax it is only a matter of time before investors start taking profits on all these stock gains and then that money will likely move back into the warm embrace of mortgage securities. This will release some pressure and lower rates again. These last couple of years have been wonderful for mortgages even with this latest uptick. This is not the normal state of mortgage affairs and a return to higher rates is inevitable at some point. Buyers are well advised to strike while the iron is hot and get the home of their dreams while it remains affordable.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Rates Continue to Drive Market

Interest rates have continued to stay stable and low. This is one of the biggest market forces in real estate and it is getting buyers off the fence and into homes. Despite the slowdown in the rate of appreciation, the volume continues to impress with the number of monthly closings now pushing up into the pre-crash figures.

Overall the local median price has stabilized and I believe this is more about the imbalance of market segments than a real pricing contraction. Most of the activity in the market is in the bottom half of the price range. This heavy weight towards lower priced units definitely effects the median price. That does not mean that an upper price range house has lost value, but rather that it will take longer to sell.

Sellers are well advised to be careful with price, the days of overpricing a house and expecting a swarm of hungry buyers is past. These days, well priced homes will move and overpriced homes will sit. We have a slight glut at the top right now and remain tight on sub-median inventory.

The Downtown urban condo scene is doing pretty well, I monitor Vancouver USA urban condos very closely on my site Urban Living in the 'Couv' and inventory is tighter now than it was over the summer. That bodes well for Vancouver's emerging urban scene.

Buyers should feel very good about the current interest rates and the slight softening on appreciation as they can feel confident that houses are generally well priced at the moment with fewer overpriced properties and the best rates we have seen in a long time.