Q3 News 2016“How’s the market?”

When you’re in real estate it seems every conversation starts with that question. The problem is, that it’s not exactly an easy question to answer. In fact, the best answer really is, “it depends”.

It depends. Are you buying or selling? What price range are you in? What’s the location? Depending on how you answer these questions will affect the answer you get.

Today’s market is up and down and all over the place depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. However, generally speaking we can define today’s market as quick, active, and in the words of Stark Company President Dave Stark “wild”.

Let’s look at a few factors that affect the current pace of today’s local market…

Pricing. Prices are up. In Dane County we’ve seen a 4.5% rise in median homes prices over the last 12 months and a 6.5% increase during the last 3.

Inventory. The number of available homes for sale is down 25% from the same time last year.

Pace of Sales. Despite some record months in the mix, year to date closings are actually slightly down from last year’s nearly record setting pace. So while we’ve seen a frantic pace with offer submission and number of showings, the number of sales remains less than what we saw in 2015.

So what does this ultimately mean for our buyers and sellers?

Despite the fact that we are approaching the end of summer, it is still a fantastic time to sell your home. As long as inventory stays at these low levels sellers will remain in the drivers seat in most segments of the market. The breaking point for seller strength lies somewhere in the $400,000-$500,000 price point. It’s here that we start to see the balance of power shift back towards the buyer. This also means that sellers looking to move up into a more expensive home may be able to take advantage of the hot market on the sale of their home while maintaining some negotiation power on the buyer side.

Sellers also need to remember that while the market is in their favor, smart pricing is still the best way to go. Overpricing will not necessarily bring in a higher profit, and may very well cause your home to sit on the market while the competition sells off. A better strategy today is to price your home where it belongs and allow the market to drive the price up. If it’s really worth more, the market will push it there.

For many buyers “winning” today simply means getting the home they want. It’s not about a discount, and you may need to go over ask price or relieve some contingencies to make yourself stand out amongst the crowd. Come prepared with a pre approval from a respectable lender, get an agent in your corner, and be ready to come strong with your offer. For a few ideas to stand out in competition here are 5 steps you can take towards winning as a buyer in today’s market.

You’ll also need to stay ahead of the crowd. Buyers relying on Zillow and Realtor.com to find houses, or those waiting for open houses to talk with the listing agent, simply aren’t getting the information they need fast enough. Connect with an agent, download our app, or sign up at StarkHomes.com to ensure you get the best information quickly.

For more information on the current market, including the effects of low inventory and interest rates take a look at the most current edition of the Stark Market Source Newsletter.

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