Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sales Around the Country This Spring

It's always interesting for me to visit with my friends from other large independent companies around the country, especially when the market is changing rapidly.  I just got back last night from Charlotte, and the mood from other places is almost giddy.  The feeling nationally is that market activity will be back within 10% of normal levels by the end of this year.  That's a big improvement from the projections we heard only last fall, when most experts thought that historical norms of housing turnover would not return before 2015.

Now the commonly heard complaint is lack of inventory.  There simply aren't enough properties for sale to meet the demand. The average number of months of inventory seems to be about three.  Well-priced, well-maintained homes in many areas get multiple offers--sometimes dozens--within a few days or weeks of being listed.  Once they go under contract, the problem that arises is that appraisals have been lagging, as they always do, so there are issues with mortgages.  In some cases, sellers and their agents are going back to the highest bidder and telling them that they need to release all the contingencies, including mortgage, or they will proceed to the next offer. New construction is hot everywhere.

Here in Connecticut, we're recovering slowly.  (Maybe that's why they call us the Land of Steady Habits?)  We have just over eight months of inventory overall in our county, with some towns much higher than that.  Guilford, for example, has 17 months' supply.  Our supply of million dollar homes will last several years.  So, for us, the report from other places tells us what the future will be like.  And it will be great.  However, if you are a buyer, my advice is to buy right now!