Aoril Market Thoughts
While homes are remaining on the market for extended periods of time compared to the past few years, the prices continue to climb – albeit more slowly.
On April 1, in what must seem an April Fools Joke, the average list price for homes in the Meadows was $908,000 and change! We will know in the next few months if this "selling season" (May-October) will force prices down by increasing the "Market Time" or we will
continue to have generally acceptable market times and therefore continuing increasing prices.
My own opinion is that at some point the long market times will cause those who must sell to decrease prices, and when sufficient people do this, it will further moderate the market prices. December 2004 to December 2005 prices increased just a tad over 10% -- I think we are looking at closer to 7% this calendar year, and most of that will take place during the "selling season."
Only a few people are looking for homes in our cool and rainy weather, and those are serious Buyers – move-up Buyers are fair weather buyers, and we are still weeks away from fair weather. If your home is listed it is easy to be impatient, but just consider it a good time for marketing and preparing the home for the hoped for parade of Buyers when the good weather arrives.
For Buyers – inventory will not be higher this year, so the selection is good and prices for those who MUST sell, are soft. It is difficult to know the true motivation of either Buyers or Sellers, so much of the real estate dance is done in shadows, and of course Buyers first fall in love with a house and then must deal with Sellers they do not know. One service that Realtors provide is to act as a buffer between emotional people.
Our current market is steady and normal for this time of year, but trying to predict future sales is well above my knowledge level. Current indications are for a slow but normal move from our current 47 homes on the market toward a low inventory in June of 25 or so.
One of our problems is simply price. We have more than a dozen homes in the Meadows that are listed at more than $1 million! Dolphin Realty sold the first Meadows listing over $1 million, but we didn’t expect the Meadows to have so many million-dollar properties so soon.
Properties are sorting themselves out based upon condition. There have been so many homes remodeled in the past few years that only small homes without modern appliances, kitchen cabinets, and carpeting remain in the half-million dollar price range. Older, darker homes simply do not sell unless substantially discounted. There are not a lot of people in the market to buy these days, but those who are in the market want what they want – and what they do not want is a lot of work.
However, it does not pay to make major changes before listing. It is better to discount the price substantially and sell the home to someone who will "flip" the house rather than go through a major remodel when you have been out of the shopping mode for new things and living with older style or out of date appliances for several decades. For my purposes, appliance or carpeting older than six years is starting to be "old." !0 years is the outer limit.
Some of our estate homes have climbed into the $400/s.f range but the older, darker homes with older appliances are lagging well behind. Our average today is $313/s.f.!