The start of 2015 has been robust! The statistics are relatively well documented but don’t always reflect the results in the general marketplace. What we’re seeing, in the residential real estate market, are signs of success. Internally we’ve seen sales activity increase dramatically since the beginning of the year, we’ve seen the number of sales outpace the number of listings, and we’re seeing buyers frustrated because of a limited supply of homes and with increasing frequency we’re seeing multiple offers on homes.
Sellers are finding their homes that have been on the market for multiple years through the recession are now being sold. There are sellers that gave up on selling their homes that have decided to give it another try and list their home again and are now finding success. There are homeowners that have had their homes on the market and tried reducing prices and now have buyers recognizing values and making offers.
As you drive through neighborhoods and around the Lehigh Valley, it is noticeable there are more for sale signs converting to sold and a diminishing amount of homes for sale. Short sales and signs of foreclosure are reaching a very low level. Vacant homes with sheriff sale signs posted are vastly disappearing.
With certainty these are the indicators that we all recognize as the real signal that the real estate market has been strengthening.
What if your home is still for sale and has been for a while? How can that be with an overall strong real estate market?
The answer is that while the market has had great general strengthening it continues to have pockets, pockets of strength and pockets of weaknesses. We have seen these pockets in varying price ranges where one price range is selling very well but another is not. Pockets have also been noticeable in geographic areas often caused by a previous oversupply of listings and the absorption has not caught up in creating the same sense of urgency as other locations. Pockets are also recognizable in different property types; attached housing vs. detached homes, existing homes vs. new construction, and generally homes in greater demand vs. homes with unique features that are appealing to a smaller market of buyers. We continue to experience the reality that all real estate is local and sellers need to adapt accordingly to experience a sale.
In general, we are still in a process of recovery but it is gradual and with pockets. The recovery also seems to have limited effect on pricing since the readjustment in 2013. Buyers and sellers alike appear to understand that there will not be significant price changes due to market effects alone.
Technology will continue to be a driver in the market. Through internet lead generation, internet based showing appointments with email or text confirmations, web-based sales and listing forms with electronic signatures, endless entities claiming to be the source of business and the never ending effort to be first in Google search results, a demand for immediate attention has been created. While the market will find its way through the future, the consumers and real estate agents will adapt to the fast changing ways of business.