The latest NWMLS press release came out last week. I’m grateful because now I know the current party line when it comes to answering the questions we all get, “How’s the market doing?” and “What’s going to happen in 6 months?”
Just being slightly facetious here. I love getting asked those questions and I hope they never stop coming.
So in any event, here’s the press release.
The one piece of news that jumped off the page was this little box of data:
Median prices by county (single-family homes only)
I do think we’re in a new market today. It’s not changing. It’s changed. The better question is, “Changed to what?” Of that I’m not sure. There are too many factors to consider that I, unfortunately, cannot control, like tariffs, material costs, wage costs, the City of Seattle, Amazon, etc.
What I do know is inventory is up to a scorching 2.3 months of supply. I believe we’re not going to continue to see the bi-monthly, or tri-monthly, price increases we’ve enjoyed over periods in the recent past.
Finally, I also know homes sell in good markets, in bad markets and in transitional markets. So, at a micro level, if somebody asks you how the market is doing, ask them how their market is? How is their work situation, credit and other qualifying factors? They might argue their individual market is OK, and, for me, that’s alright.
Recently, someone (not in our market, FYI) mentioned to me the week following Christmas is one of the busiest of the year for home buying. I immediately started to think back to past years, and while I do remember more traffic on the week after than the week before, I guess I didn’t notice a huge difference. That being said, I have always thought this is when the savvy shoppers are out in the market looking for year-end deals.
After some research, I was able to find some national analysis on the subject. A few years back Realtor.com posted a trend report showing December 28th as one of the biggest traffic days of the year. In a more recent story, Realtor states typically, “views per property are 21 percent lower in December than they are during the rest of the year”. However, the rest of the story goes on to talk about why this year could break the mold.
I also found this report from ATTOM Data Solutions. They looked at discounts based on closing date of a sale over a four-year period. Their conclusion was 7 of the 10 best days for real estate closings (from a buyers’ perspective) were in December, with closings on the 26th receiving the best deals. Given a 30-day closing period, this means people were probably out shopping in November right around Thanksgiving to hit those closing dates.
All of this to say, it’s clear the last week of the year is an important one. Buyers know builders have inventory to move and are less likely to face competition with their offers. The people we talk to are going to be highly-motivated. Whether we’re working on closings or meeting with new potential customers, it’s probably going to be busier than 2017.