We’ve all heard the phrase that real estate is local. Realtors use it often, and with good reason.
Real estate markets vary widely, and making generalized statements about what the real estate market is doing can be risky. But we see that all the time in media reports…as if what’s happening in one area is a reflection of the housing market in another region.
And reports often lag behind the reality of the market. It's certainly true these days.
The talk about national averages suggests the same conditions exist in every housing market of the country, and we’re all the same. Or at least those not in the real estate business might draw that conclusion. Those in the know, know better!
How often have we heard “it’s a sellers market” or “it’s a buyers market?”
But the real estate market is not always that simple or generalized in a particular community or area. Once you start looking at specific neighborhoods, various price ranges, and other issues, you may see a mix of buyer, seller, and balanced markets.
I’ve oberved it in Carlsbad where I live, and other communities nearby where I assist buyers and sellers.
And of course market shifts occur over time, and sometimes quickly.
So how local IS local when talking about real estate market conditions such as average list and sales prices, inventory, days on market, price per SF, and so on?
It can vary from one neighborhood or subdivision to another, and within a neighborhood. One street may differ from another street depending on supply and demand and what’s popular. Does one side of a street have great views? If so, expect that to differ from across the street even if the houses are the same.
New home communities may be very different from resale properties in the same general area. Condos and townhomes are different from single family detached homes, and might vary amongst themselves when you compare different complexes.
Are you in an area where there are high rise condos? You might pay more the higher you go, and each building can be different for a host of reasons – amenities, views, the presence of a concierge.
Interested in living west of the freeway in my area or close to the ocean…guess what, the prices can go way up! Want a view? Yep, that impacts pricing as well, but views vary.
Don’t forget about the impact local schools and their reputations can have on prices and desirability. The list goes on and on.
The bottom line? To achieve the best understanding of what the local market conditions are all about, and what they mean for your buying and selling decisions, you need to work with a Realtor who knows and understands the nuances of the local real estate.
And you need to consider the particular local market segment that is relevant to your specific search interests – the area(s) you prefer, the price range, the type of property (e.g., townhome vs. single family detached home).
Is it complicated? Well, it may feel that way, and that’s why you need the best professional guidance and advice you can get.
And in this competitive market it’s even more important if you want a successful sale or purchase. Especially given the competitive bidding and rising prices.
Is real estate local? You bet it is. And your Realtor will help you understand how, so you can make informed decisions.