Notes from the Field
This spring I spent many Sundays attending open houses with my clients, often running into colleagues doing the same thing. But wait. Open houses are supposed to be for buyers to go without their agents, right? If the buyer has an agent, why don't we just schedule an appointment and see the house by ourselves?
There are a couple of reasons. If the open house serves as the "first available showing" and buyers are in competition with one another, the motivated buyers and their agents will be there first and be prepared to write an offer practically on the spot!
As I waited for my clients outside an open house one day, I watched as the cars lined up for the 1pm start time. It was like a race to see who could get in there the fastest. Once inside, we were tripping over each other, asking ourselves, "when did this market get so crazy?"
While it may feel like a seller's market for some in Delaware and Chester counties, the numbers may surprise you.
According to the definition by Miriam Webster, a seller's market is one in which goods are scarce, buyers have few options and prices are high. Although many Realtors here in Delaware and Chester counties have been running around like crazy all spring, it seems we have been racing to see and write up offers on the same listings while other listings are ignored. Today I counted 202 price reductions in the month of June for the townships I cover between Media and West Chester! That tells a story, doesn't it?
The truth is, any market can be a seller's market for the seller who prepares their home for sale and prices it right.
Competition for some listings has pushed prices up slightly from the same time last year. However, lending guidelines, appraisals and a lingering buyer mindset from the buyer's market have kept them from getting out of control.
Field Experience vs. MLS Sales Data
In Chester County, the amount of closed sales in the first quarter of 2014 compared to 2013, was down 4%. In Delaware County, sales were down 9.2% for the same time period.
Buyers are competiting for the same listings and a few lucky sellers have multiple offers to choose from. I am also seeing more homes being sold "off-market," also known as "pocket listings" and more For Sale by Owner listings. Those two facts skew the numbers because they are not included in the overall MLS data.
The average marketing period for a property Chester County was 93 days, down 19% and the average in Delaware County was 114 days, down 9%. Still, for those home sellers with the right address, right price and right condition will barely get their listing into the MLS before it sold.
Keep in mind that average marketing period does fluctuate. Lower priced homes usually sell faster than higher priced homes, although a few $1m homes have sold in a matter of weeks lately so one never can tell! If you are thinking of listing your home, it's better to use data that is in line with your neighborhood, style of home and comparable parameters than using the broad averages mentioned here.
The reason proper pricing is still critical is that most buyers have a mortgage company to answer to. While appraisals do take demand into consideration, only recently settled properties can be used for the valuation on your property. Accordingly, in spite of demand, some properties are still falling short when it comes to appraisals.
Market Snapshot of home sales the West Chester-Media area for May, 2014.
19063 (Media) 28 settled, 71 pending, 125 Active
19342 (Glen Mills) 16 settled, 21 pending, 76 Active
19380, 19382 (West Chester) 60 settled, 139 pending, 299 Active
19060,19061 (Garnet Valley) 8 settled, 23 pending, 58 Active
Notes for Buyers and Sellers
Buyers need to act quickly when new homes hit the market even though it may not be "the one." Also, there may be some gems in those homes that have been on the market for a while. Click here for current inventory in the West Chester-Media area.
Sellers need to be aware that pricing is still 80% of the marketing. Homes that are priced out of the market will be ignored or just take longer to sell. Click here to contact us about selling your home.
If you are thinking of buying a home, selling a home or investing in real estate, please call me for an accurate and current picture of the market in your area!
The content of this article and website is for informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of a qualified professional . MLS Data is deemed accurate but not guaranteed.