How is the market?

That is a question that I have been asked a lot lately.  I guess I could spout sales figures, average days on market, average sale price, compare this YTD to 2009 YTD,  and other numbers.  It sure would make me look smart I guess.  But I won’t because I don’t think that tells us the story behind the numbers, which is far more interesting, relevant and important.

See, the average days on market really tell us just that.  The houses that have sold very quickly or took forever to sell have a lot of say over what that number will be.  The same thing with the number of sales.  It is us realtors that find the number of sales important.   Buyer’s and seller’s really care about if the market is balanced or not.  For example, if there is one house for sale and there is only one buyer, that is a balanced market……Of course it means that there are a lot of Realtors submitting resumes all over town,  but the market would be balanced.  Again, the same thing with average sale price.  It has come down in the past few years not really because of depreciation, but because the more expensive houses that previously brought the average number up weren’t selling that well.

So, how is the market?  Again, that depends on who you ask.  I had my best year EVER last year, and my phone is ringing.  To me it looks great!!  To the agent that spent most of last year sending people post cards to remember to set their clock either backwards of forwards, they would say it is bad.

So, “Is he ever going to answer the dang question?” is what you must be thinking.  Okay, here goes:  If you are a seller who is willing to work to make your house look attractive, and are realistic about the price, congrats, it is a good market for you.  If you are a seller that doesn’t want to put any effort into selling your house and are pretty inflexible, then I predict the sign in your front yard will rust away before you get a contract.  For buyer’s, you have less selection than you have had in the past several years, but you weren’t really going to buy those houses that were over-priced and didn’t show well anyway, so the fact that there are less of them really doesn’t matter to you I guess.

I think we are going to see a good year.  People with jobs are now acclimated to the economy.  Living in a sour economy is just normal now.  The shock has worn off as long as you have a job.  Life goes on and part of grown up life is buying and selling houses.

Also, people just aren’t looking at their home as an ATM machine any more either.  People are viewing their home as, well, their home.  Because of that, buyers are really conservative with the amount they offer.  NOBODY is willing to over pay.  The old school boom mentality was “So what if I over-paid by $10,000 in a bidding war, I’ll get that back in appreciation within the next year.”  I still think people are willing to pay full “Retail” for a house, but they definitely want to make sure they pay no more than that.  (That makes it good for me because smart people have started viewing the Realtor’s wisdom as critical again, after years of viewing us mainly has somebody who opens the door and cashes checks.)

Here is another fact that holds true across all price ranges:  The best houses in every price range have always and will always sell quickly and for top dollar.  As long as their IS a market, the best house will always be the one that sells.

So, how is the market?  It is cautious.  It is alive and well.  It is pretty balanced up to about the $250k point.  Lexington is a town with 2 strong markets:  The people buying/selling houses in the under $150k range, and those moving up to the $200-250k range.  And most of all, the market is realistic these days, which to me is a good sign of it’s health.

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