A year ago I was advising Sonoma County home buyers to move fast. Prices were rising and inventory was in short supply. The only update needed for that post in 2014 is to say that prices are still rising, but they're starting a lot higher than they were a year ago and that fewer homes are available. I don't have a specific person lined up for an "I told you so!", but there is no doubt in my mind that many of the buyers I meet today are kicking themselves for not jumping into the market a year ago.
One of my favorite demonstrations of market forces at work is to pull up a hotsheet of all the new listings in the last 30 days. I show an image of a 30 Day Hotsheet for Santa Rosa on the right. What will be immediately apparent to experienced agents is how many listings are already snapped up.
Nearly half of new listings are contingent, pending, or sold within the first 30 days of hitting the market. It's a graphic demonstration of a sellers' market and a powerful tool to encourage buyers to be prepared to move fast if something they like gets listed.
Even for the fast moving buyers I am currently working with, the transition from last year's tight market to the current situation is marked by frustration. It's not unusual for them to encounter multiple bids, bids over asking, and all-cash offers for the properties they are trying to purchase.
There isn't a silver bullet or magic spell to help. Persistence and a willingness to write offers quickly seem to be the only route to success. That and finding a seller who thinks a school teacher should be able to find a house to buy.