Back At It…

The final 2019 real estate stats are in and 2020 seems to be off to a brisk start. Below are some thoughts on navigating the current market and HERE is a link to all the facts and figures if you are so inclined.  
As far as values are concerned, prices in most neighborhoods are still just below the last market peak back in June of 2018. Prices are climbing slowly, however, and depending on where you live the value of your home probably increased +/- 5% during the past year. While not the 10-15% annual increases we got used to in the overheated market of a few years ago, if this level of appreciation is the new normal – and I think it will be for a while – we’ll probably all survive.
On the supply side, after seemingly turning a corner early last year we ended the year back near record low inventory levels and I don’t see this changing significantly any time soon. Some industry analysts are actually adjusting their definitions of a “balanced market” downward from the historical consensus of 4-6 months of inventory, which should tell us something.
Here are a few takeaways. Sellers have reclaimed the driver’s seat, but can’t get too bold. The market remains amazingly efficient and even at these inventory levels buyers are not exhibiting the same behaviors they did back in the frenzied days. They are willing to move quickly on prized listings in great neighborhoods, but are not pushing prices to ridiculous levels. Nor are they overlooking shortcomings or waiving contingencies as in the past. Multiple-offer scenarios are out there but not in the same numbers or intensity as before.
To be successful as a buyer take the time to educate yourself on the market dynamics in your target neighborhood(s) and be ready to act when the right opportunity presents itself. Air-tight financing and a good agent in your corner to protect your interests and guide you through the buying process are must haves in the current environment. First movers in today’s market can often negotiate certain deal terms and perhaps even price, but you have to be smart and professional in your approach in order to walk away with the prize.
Let me know if you’d like to talk more about the general market, your neighborhood or a specific property. A quick conversation is almost always worth the time… and I’ll buy the drinks!
Happy New Year! 

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