I once had an economics professor say "You can make stats tell any story you want! You just need to know how to manipulate them." Are house prices really rising on the Main Line?
In the tri-county area according to information released by Trend MLS for September average price has risen by 7.8% although sales are down 28%, compared to last September, all this with rising inventories and stories of buyers having problems qualifying for mortgages.
So what is really happening on the Main Line? Every day when I check my MLS I see large numbers of price reductions across the system, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays being the worst for this. What also happens is agents re-list to get around the stats of their selling price being low compared to asking price. By re-listing at the lower price when it sells their stats remain good compared to what they first told the owner. This skews the numbers as well.
We have compared numbers for price per square foot in local townships and the results were mixed. you can see these on our website. Certainly what we saw was that Lower Merion and Radnor prices had risen over the previous months this year; however, Easttown and Tredyffrin prices had dropped per square foot. We like the price per square foot because it is more realistic than an average price which can be skewed by high priced homes selling.
What is also true is that specific townships vary from each other. You should not listen to national statistics, and better still try to get the numbers for your township and make sure they are current. In some townships specific streets and developments may buck the township trend, so it is important to draw the right conclusions if you are selling or buying when you make decisions on price.
Selling you do not want to overprice your home in this market, so you need more than ever to get the price right from the start as price is the main reason homes are not selling today according to surveys and experience. Priced right you will have lots of interest and the ability to negotiate with qualified buyers, priced wrong you will have people who may be unqualified making low ball offers, or it may not appraise if you do obtain a high price.
Buying, whilst it is a buyers market, you need to make a sensible offer that stands a chance of being accepted, that allows you to negotiate with a seller who is interested in reaching the settlement table with you and willing to accept what needs to be done financially following home inspections.
Using a Realtor who knows the local market, who knows the difference between Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Havertown and is involved on a daily basis in negotiations makes the difference, even if you are not an engineer or accountant you want your agent to know what is happening in your neighborhood because all real estate is local, very local.