Re/MAX’s national September housing report reveals some good news for buyers in certain areas. As the country’s largest franchise-owned real estate company, RE/MAX shared the numbers from its latest national housing report. Based on the stats from September 2018, it appears the playing field is beginning to level off between buyers and sellers. The attention grabber? Nationally, year-over-year home sales dropped 11.6%.
According to RE/MAX, “the decline in home sales was the largest since May 2011. While inventory did continue to decline at 4.7%, it was the smallest decrease since August 2014.”
Before buyers do the happy dance, the median home price (tracked in 54 metro areas) did show a year-over-year increase to $241,000. Only three areas including Birmingham, Alabama, Anchorage, Alaska and Honolulu, Hawaii experienced slight declines in sales prices. Birmingham led the three with a 2.1% decrease.
Conversely, year-over-year price increases were good news for sellers in Boise, Idaho, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Salt Lake City. Boise prices rose 17.9% while Manchester’s prices increased by 13.4% and Salt Lake City saw an increase of 11.9%
Moving around the country, agents with boots on the ground report interesting individual market trends. In San Diego for September 2018 closed transactions at 2,446 were down month-over-month by 20.4%. Inventory supply was up 31.8% from September 2017. Marilyn Dash, of RE/MAX At The Coast in Encinitas and San Diego, reports days-on-market “have gone from under 30 days to two to three months.”
Dashe has a few cautionary notes. “Sellers cannot compare their houses against the last sale if that sale was before September,” she says. “Starting in August and September, the market shifted, and a seller must list their house at a price based on the current market.” That’s good news for buyers.
Here’s some more favorable news for homebuyers. Seattle, which was beyond a hot market for several years, is showing signs of a small slowing. Listen to John Manning, of RE/MAX On Market. “There’s a healthy correction to the ‘red hot’ sellers’ market last spring with its multiple offers, low inventories, waived contingencies, and frustrated buyers,” Manning notes. “Sellers are realizing that it may take weeks or months to sell their home and to be competitive, they may need to make property improvements, invest in staging and marketing. Buyers are awakening to the fact they have more choice and purchasing power.”
The pricey Los Angeles area market saw 8,011 transactions closed escrow last month. That’s down 20% compared to August. Days on Market (always a good market indicator) increased to 44, up 10% from August.
Once again, sellers are seeing changes and must adapt. Alex Eychis, with RE/MAX Estate Properties in Los Angeles, explains it this way. “Money is more expensive this year than it was last year so that part has made it more difficult for buyers. Some sellers are concerned that if they don’t sell now they may be ‘stuck’ in their property for several years.”
The Las Vegas market, which was heavily impacted by the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent housing market collapse, has been recovering over the last few years. That’s starting to change, according to Tim Kelly-Kiernan of RE/MAX Excellence. “Our Market is slowing down, and the good thing is inventory has increased dramatically in the last 60-90 days by over 20 percent,” said Kelly-Kiernan “Homes below the $300,000 range are receiving offers in 30 days or less while homes in the $350,000 and above range are not. There is a glut of homes listed in that price range.”
Sellers in Denver, another hotter than hot market are also feeling the pinch. “The Denver Metro Area is experiencing favorable market normalization,” explains Kerron Stokes with RE/MAX Leaders. “As we continue to transition over the next 12 months, price decreases will happen until the realtor community begins to adjust as they counsel sellers not to ‘shoot the moon,’ but to realize reasonable equity.” Those are words that could be music to buyers in various markets around the country.
I have covered the business of real estate (both residential and commercial) for over twenty-five years. I spent 12 years in the Forbes Los Angeles bureau reporting and writing about as I call it, Adventures in Real Estate. From the first tear-downs turning into a mega mansion