Everyone seems to be excited about this week’s Case-Shiller home price numbers reported for February. Even the title of the April 25th press release sounded a little giddy: “The S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller National Home Price NSA Index Sets Fourth Consecutive All-Time High” (spindices.com). Yes, the Case-Shiller 10-city and 20-city composite indices are close to the 2007 level. But before you become intoxicated by reports of gonzo home sales and prices and run off to sell your home, here’s more to the story.
Gonzo home sales and prices
Gonzo home sales and prices depend on the market. According to the recent Case-Shiller release, Seattle, Portland, and Dallas topped the charts with annual index gains of 12.2 percent, 9.7 percent, and 8.8 percent respectively. Not surprisingly, Seattle and Portland have been the hottest real estate markets over the past year. Tampa’s and Cleveland’s housing markets are at the opposite end of the spectrum with decreases of -0.5 percent, -0.3 percent during February; while Miami’s home price index was unchanged. Washington DC reported an annual gain of 4.1 percent, with a 0.2% gain reported in February.
David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices stated:
“There are still relatively few existing homes listed for sale and the small 3.8 month supply is supporting the recent price increases. Housing affordability has declined since 2012 as the pressure of higher prices has been a larger factor than stable to lower mortgage rates.
Housing’s strength and home building are important contributors to the economic recovery. Housing starts bottomed in March 2009 and, with a few bumps, have advanced over the last eight years. New home construction is now close to a normal pace of about 1.2 million units annually, of which around 800,000 are single family homes. Most housing rebounds following a recession only last for a year or so. The notable exception was the boom that set the stage for the bubble. Housing starts bottomed in 1991, drove through the 2000-2001 recession, and peaked in 2005 after a 14-year run.”
Gonzo home sales and prices are dependent on local real estate. It’s true, housing inventory is lacking. At a time when homes should be coming to market for the spring season, the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors Montgomery County single family statistics for March 2017 indicated that there were -1.8 percent less new listings compared to the same time last year. And the total number of active homes for sale are -16.4 percent less than the same time last year. Although June is usually the peak time for home sales and prices in our area, home sales increased 17.9 percent month over month, and is 11.7 percent higher than the same time last year; while average home sale prices increased less than 1 percent (gcaar.com)!
Holy shades of 2005, Batman!
Housing stats sound eerily like those before the housing bubble crash. But this market is different in many respects. Consider that housing speculation is not as prevalent as it was at that time; homes are not being flipped in a matter of days in most areas. And home buyers are more sophisticated and savvy than they were in 2005; home buyers are more demanding, as well as sensitive to home condition and price.
Yes, it’s true that house values are increasing. Yes, home sales are breaking records. But not all homes sell. You should realize that that home sale stats includes data of homes that sell. Homes that don’t sell are not included in the numbers of closings, nor are they included in home sale prices.
Homes that don’t sell tend to be overpriced for the home’s condition, or neighborhood. Sometimes, the physical location of the house is not ideal; for example, situated next to train tracks. If you’re selling your home this year, don’t get greedy. Get a professional opinion on pricing your home correctly; over priced homes tend to not sell quickly, or not at all.
Pricing your home may not be as easy as you think. Empirical research has confirmed that there are many variables that affect sales price. Factors that impact home sale price include the home’s location, condition, amenities, and market timing.
If you want to sell your home quickly and capitalize on home sale trends: consider repairing deferred maintenance issues, making updates, and don’t take home buyers for granted. When making repairs and updates, don’t go for the cheapest quote because it will likely show. Also, make sure your contractors are licensed.
Home buyers are just as savvy as you, so any attempt to deceive will backfire and hurt your sale. Focus on broadening your home’s appeal. Consider making your home turnkey, since most home buyers are looking for a home they can move right in and without making immediate repairs and updates.
For a guide on a successful home sale, take a look at “The magic of 4 to sell a home“
Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.