The market is definitely maybe going to do that one thing in the future

The market is doing great. It’s about to crash. Values are fine but they’re slowing. Actually, the “bubble” popped two months ago. Right now there are some strong opinions about real estate trends. It feels a bit manic to be honest as some say the market is tame while others say it’s beginning a downward slide. In light of this, I hoped to kick around some ideas together. What do you think?

36852833 - businessman holding a glass ball,foretelling the future.

A few things to consider when the market begins to slow:

  1. Don’t let headlines become your talking points: It seems like sensational headlines and stories can become our talking points if we’re not careful. It’s easy to let this happen in our personal lives, so two weeks ago we were offended by Ryan Lochte, this week it’s Colin Kaepernick, and next week it’s going to be some other person or situation. I’m not saying these things don’t matter, but only that it’s easy to get swept up in the latest headlines. The same thing happens with real estate articles and opinions. It’s easy to hear something and swiftly conclude “the market is doing this or that,” without really fact checking our local market. My advice would be to let local data inform our market statements.
  2. Be careful about predicting value: It’s really not the job of real estate professionals to predict what values will do in the future. If I asked you to predict exactly what Apple stock will be worth in one year, could you be precise? Or tell me how consumers will feel about Netflix in 5 years from now. Or let’s keep it simple. Who is going to be President in two months? You get the point. Everyone is asking where the real estate market is heading, but the most honest thing we can say is, “I don’t know what the market is going to do. My crystal ball is broken. But I can tell you in depth what the market is doing right now and what it seems poised to do in the immediate future.”
  3. Know the seasonal trend: Almost every single year in the later summer the real estate market slows down and the real estate community tends to freak out. What is happening? Has the “bubble” popped? Is the market starting to turn? It’s as if we are disconnected from seasonal trends and thus treat any slowing like it’s something totally unexpected. Like I said two weeks ago, weighing a slowing market is like stepping on a scale at the right time of day. Frankly, we have to be able to answer questions like this: What does the market normally do at this time of year or during this month? Does it take longer to sell? What happens with sales volume? Does monthly inventory usually go up or down? Do prices usually soften or increase? Answers to these questions can show us how the seasonal market usually behaves and then help us interpret whether a current slowing is something normal or not. Here’s a good rule of thumb: Unless we see something that indicates this is more than a seasonal slowing, it’s probably an okay idea to consider this a seasonal slowing.
  4. Preaching the market is going to change: For those preaching a coming change in the market, here are a few questions: What is going to cause the market to change? When is it going to happen? And by how much will values decline? In reality it’s a given that at some point in the future the market is going to change. Why? Because that’s what markets do. They go up and they go down. While I’m not a huge fan of predicting real estate, I guess if someone has a platform of change, I’d rather hear some specifics because otherwise preaching change seems like prophesying something inevitable. Know what I’m saying?

I hope this was helpful and relevant.

Video Market Screencast: In the following video I talk about seeing the seasonal market and what the market was like in 2005 when values began to decline. I hope this will be helpful and maybe even a game-changer for some. Watch below (or here). Yeah, it’s not short, but maybe watch it in the background while working.

Questions: What is point #5? Did I miss anything? Which point resonated with you the most? Do you think what’s happening now is a seasonal trend or is it something else? I’d love to hear your take.

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Six temptations to avoid when the market slows down

At this time of year the weather begins to change, the kids are finally back in school, AND pumpkin spice lattes come back on the menu at Starbucks. Oh, and it’s normal for the real estate market to slow down.

sacramento real estate market- image purchased from 123rf and used with permission by sacramento appraisal blog

The Truth: Real estate is usually very seasonal, meaning the market heats up in the spring and begins to slow down later in the year. This is normal, and we know this intellectually, yet it’s still easy to freak out when properties start taking longer to sell or demand changes. This is why I hope this post will be relevant.

NOTE: There is a difference between a market being slow and showing signs of a seasonal slowing. 

Six temptations to avoid when the market slows down

  1. Freaking out: Just as we expect the weather to change during the fall, let’s expect real estate to change too. The public likes hearing positive news (“values are increasing”), so reporting a market slowing seems negative or anti-climatic, but it’s actually normal almost every single year (see this post and look at the fall graphs compared to the spring). On the positive side, a slower seasonal market might provide space for a vacation, relaxation, and most significantly an opportunity for the real estate community to communicate seasonal dynamics to clients. Of course when a market slows it’s not always easy to be self-employed since paychecks also slow. Yet when we start realizing the market slows during the end of the year, it helps us adjust our expectations and make plans for life and business. There has to be more to the last quarter of the year than being stressed until the market picks up again in the spring.  🙂
  2. Projecting the aggressive spring on summer: It’s easy to look back in time to a more aggressive market and want to price according to sales from the hot spring. But when the market has changed, be careful to look at values for what they are right now instead of projecting hotter seasonal trends of the recent past onto a fading summer or cool fall. This is just the same as not dressing for summer if it is winter (I do wear flip flops year round though). We have to do what makes sense for the current time.
  3. Putting too much weight on sales: Sales tell us what the market used to be like when the sales went into contract several months ago, but listings and pendings tell us what the current market is like right now. When values begin to soften during the fall, this makes it all the more important to look at listings / pendings instead of only sales. If the listings are priced at a similar level to recent sales, but not selling, this tells us the market has changed, and we might need to adjust our expectations (and prices). The same is true with the stock market. We wouldn’t use stock prices from three months ago as our gauge for today’s prices, but instead look at what stocks are actually selling for right now.
  4. Targeting that one magical buyer: We all want to attract the highest price ever, so it’s easy to hold out for that one cash buyer from outside the market who is going to pay more than anyone has ever paid. Yet we have to consider what the rest of the local market is willing to pay (this is what the appraiser is going to be considering too). If you lined up 100 buyers who are interested in the neighborhood, what is the most probable price most buyers would be willing to pay? That’s a good picture of what market value looks like.
  5. Refusing to reduce the list price: It can sting to reduce the list price, but if the price isn’t right, it’s time to change that, right? If you had something for sale on Craigslist and it wasn’t selling, would you keep the price the same? No, you’d change it if you really wanted to sell. How do you know if the price is wrong? If there aren’t any offers, you’re not “in the market”, but only “on the market” (Jay Papasan). An honest question: If the market is telling you to reduce the price, but you aren’t willing to do so, do you really want to sell?
  6. Not listening to your real estate agent: If you are an owner and your real estate agent keeps encouraging you to do something to the property or change the list price, but you’re not listening, ask yourself why you are not listening.

I hope this was helpful.

Social Media Podcast: By the way, a few weeks back I did a podcast with The Appraiser Coach on using social media. Here it is in case you want to give it a listen in the background. It’s geared toward appraisers, but there are probably relevant nuggets in there for anyone in the real estate community. Listen here or below.

Questions: What’s temptation #7? Did I miss anything? I’d love to hear your take.

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Aggressive demand but modest value appreciation in Sacramento

Is it just me, or has the market felt a bit funky? On one hand demand has felt very aggressive, but actual value appreciation has been fairly modest overall. Let’s take a look at the latest trends in the Sacramento housing market below. If you’re local, I hope the 10 quick trends help give you some talking points with clients. If you’re not local, what are you seeing in your area?

the big picture in real estate

One Paragraph on the Market: More listings came on the market last month, but buyers readily absorbed them. Pendings are still a good 20%+ higher than last year in the Sacramento area, and clean and well-priced properties are getting into contract very quickly. As aggressive as demand has felt though, we haven’t seen the rapid appreciation this Spring that we saw in 2013. Values more or less have experienced a normal seasonal increase, though when compared to sales during the Fall of 2014, prices are clearly MUCH higher since there was a lull in the market last Fall. Overall price levels now generally seem to have recovered back to the height of last Summer (or even a bit higher depending on the area). Well-priced listings are getting into contract VERY quickly, and there have been multiple offers. But at the same time buyers are tending to overlook properties that are overpriced and anything with an adverse location or a lack of upgrades. As housing inventory presumably begins to increase over the next few months, keep an eye out for more price reductions, unrealistic expectations from sellers, and buyers gaining more power from sellers. Remember too the market does not behave the same at every price level or in every neighborhood.

Two ways to read my big monthly market post:

  1. Scan the talking points and graphs quickly.
  2. Grab a cup of coffee and spend a few minutes digesting what is here.

DOWNLOAD 52 graphs HERE for free (zip file): Please download all 52 graphs here as a zip file (or send me an email). Use them for study, for your newsletter, or even some on your blog. See my sharing policy for 5 ways to share.

Sacramento County Market Trends for April 2015:

  1. The median price in Sacramento County is $280,000.
  2. The median price is 5.6% higher than one year ago (April 2014).
  3. It took 42 days to sell a house last month.
  4. Cash sales were only 16.5% of all sales last month.
  5. FHA sales were 27% of all sales in Sacramento County last month.
  6. Sales volume was 9.2% higher this April compared to last April.
  7. There is 1.5 months of housing inventory (1.8 months last April).
  8. The average price per sq ft is 182 (7% higher than last April).
  9. The average sales price is $310,000 (5.7% higher than last year).
  10. It took 3 days longer to sell a house this April compared to last.

CDOM in Sacramento County - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog months of housing inventory by sacramento appraisal blogprice metrics since 2014 in sacramento countyinventory during fall and winter 2 - by sacramento appraisal blog

median price and inventory since 2013 - by sacramento appraisal blog

layers of the market in sacramento county - by sacramento appraisal blogPlacer County Market Trends for April 2015:

  1. The median price in Placer County is $391,500.
  2. The median price is 6.9% higher than one year ago (April 2014).
  3. It took 41 days to sell a house last month.
  4. Cash sales were 17% of all sales last month.
  5. FHA sales were 20% of all sales in Sacramento County last month.
  6. Sales volume was 27.5% higher this April compared to last April.
  7. There is 1.9 months of housing inventory (2.5 months last April).
  8. The average price per sq ft is 200 (3% higher than last April).
  9. The average sales price is $441,163 (3.8% higher than last year).
  10. It took 10 days shorter to sell a house this April compared to last.

days on market in placer county by sacramento appraisal blogmonths of housing inventory in placer county by sacramento appraisal blogPlacer County median price and inventory - by home appraiser blogPlacer County sales volume - by sacramento appraisal bloginterest rates inventory median price in placer county by sacramento appraisal blog

Regional Market Trends for April 2015 (Sac, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado):

  1. The median price in the Sacramento Region is $325,000.
  2. The median price is 9.4% higher than one year ago (April 2014).
  3. It took 44 days to sell a house last month.
  4. Cash sales were 16.9% of all sales last month.
  5. FHA sales were 23.7% of all sales in Sacramento County last month.
  6. Sales volume was 10.5% higher this April compared to last April.
  7. There is 1.7 months of housing inventory (2.1 months last April).
  8. The average price per sq ft is 192 (7.2% higher than last April).
  9. The average sales price is $360,351 (6.9% higher than last year).
  10. It took the same amount of time to sell in April 2015 and April 2014.

days on market in placer sac el dorado yolo county by sacramento appraisal blog

months of housing inventory in region by sacramento appraisal blog

median price and inventory in sacramento placer yolo el dorado county

number of listings in Placer Sacramento Yolo El Dorado county - by home appraiser blog

interest rates inventory median price in sacramento regional market by sacramento appraisal blog

Questions: How do you think sellers and buyers are feeling about the market right now? What are you seeing out there?

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