Market Update (2023)

Market Update (2023)

What is going on in the market right now?

It’s no secret that when rates started creeping up, sales slowed down. There were still buyers out there who weren’t interest rate sensitive. They had a high down payment or all cash. My spring was the slowest on record for me.

Let’s rewind back to the March, 2023 Melissa. Our family has a 50-state challenge in action. I plan it, they show up. This summer I planned for us to hit 9 states to add to our tally of 14. Last summer, we left in mid-July. I didn’t like the way it cut up the summer so I decided we would either do it at the beginning or the end of summer.

Two things factored into the decision.

1. The market had been dreadfully slow in the spring, so why not leave as soon as possible.
2. This summer I planned to hit the Dakotas. I wanted to be out of Sturgis, South Dakota long before 600,000 bikers descended on the town for the annual rally in early August.

Michael, who has been working with me on Virginia area videos said, “I think the summer is going to be busy.” I scoffed at this statement. I felt that since Covid, no one out there is letting a summer pass without enjoying it to the fullest. We own a rental property at the beach and by spring it was booked solid for the summer. This is one of my non-scientific barometers of the market and consumer sentiment – are people still traveling and how early are they planning their vacations.

That’s great Melissa, but get back to the part of the story where you thought being in a car with two bickering children for 30 days was a good idea. Right.

This year school ended on June 22nd and we left on June 26th.

The last two weeks of June, I had 9 new people contact me about buying or selling their home. I was literally taking calls and talking to people right up until we got in the car and drove out of the city. I was laughing at how things had been so quiet until the days before I’m trying to get out of here. Real Estate Agents joke that this is a thing that happens to us, but I was sure Ashton Kutcher was going to jump out from behind a tree and tell me I’m being punked.

In July I had 6 more people contact me to buy. These weren’t of the “Hey Melissa, I was thinking of moving to DC and I’ve been watching your videos…” No, several of these callers were of the “I was just told my job starts by x date and I need to be in DC before August.”

The first week on the road I spent a good deal of time on the phone because that’s how real estate is. I ratified 3 contracts while I was away. In July. That was unexpected.

The numbers from MLS somewhat support this.

The last week of June, property showings were up 10% from the week before, with almost 26,000 showings registered.  This is about the same number as last year, which by all measures was still a decent market in June. For another frame of reference, showings peaked this year in early April, at 30,000. So, 26,000 in July is really good.

We keep hearing about this lack of inventory, but people are finding homes to tour. The other key metric is ratified contracts. People could be looking but not buying, right? Well, there is some of that. The most contracts ratified in a single week this year was around 1700 in mid-April. Most weeks of June and July they were 1400 – 1500 a week.

How are people getting things locked down? Here’s how my three July clients were successful in getting their offers signed in the past few weeks.

1. Don’t Look for Mr. Right, Look for Mr. Right Now.

The first clients dialed back what they were originally looking for. This allowed them to carry their current home and move to DC into a home that will work for several years. And it will be a good rental if they decide to upgrade to what they originally wanted to purchase. This was really smart. They also attacked that offer like Freddy Kruger riding Jaws. They had no qualms about waiving what they needed to get the house.

2. Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

The second clients knew what community they wanted and wrote an offer sight unseen. The seller didn’t accept it pre-market, but once it went active we did a video tour. They were confident after seeing other homes in the community that this was a good “chance” to take. Side note: Another home they had submitted an offer on used their offer to drive up the price of another bidder. After my client ratified on the next home, the other people came back and said their buyer walked away.

3. When You Take Action, You Can Create the Outcome

The third clients started out a little discouraged from friends who had been outbid on nearly a dozen offers. It’s competitive here, that is true. But one person’s experience may not match yours. You just don’t know what kind of house the friend is looking for, what their financial situation is like or how they are putting offers together. My clients came into this super flexible and understanding of the market. We lucked out finding a home that was mispriced a bit, and they snagged it quickly.

Fun fact – two of my current contracts have the same lovely listing agent. So, your agent’s relationships help too. We’re heading into the sweet spot of summer, when there are good opportunities out there. If you’re in the market, don’t wait for fall for “more homes for sale.” Now is a great time!