Is this crazy housing market slowing? Let’s talk about that today. On one hand stats are basically at all-time highs, but when we look deeper we’re starting to see some subtle signs of slowing. What are you seeing out there?
QUICK SUMMARY: The market is still bananas, but we’re seeing some slight slowing. Stats could change in coming weeks and months, but for now the best available information suggests a slightly slower trend. And I’m not saying the market is dull, so save your hate mail. It’s more like housing was driving 135 mph and now it’s driving 127 mph.
Some subtle examples of slowing:
1) It’s taking slightly longer to sell: It May it took only six days to sell (median) in the Sacramento region while pendings over the past four weeks took seven days to get into contract (median).
2) Fewer multiple offers: In May we saw the number of multiple offers slough by 6% as seen in the graph below. We are still basically at all-time high levels, but the percentage of multiple offers is slightly lower than it was.
3) Buyers paid slightly less above asking: In May buyers paid an average of $20,975 above asking price while in April they paid $22,247. This is a very minor difference that I’m honestly hesitant to talk about because we’ll have to revise May stats in a few weeks once more sales get added into MLS. So it’s possible this stat in May could change. Though right now the best available market stats show buyers paid slightly less above contract price in May compared to April.
4) Lower sales to original list price ratio: In May buyers paid an average of 103.3% above the original list price compared to 103.8% in April. Okay, this is even closer than the example in number three, so again, I’m reluctant to post this – especially since we’ll need to refresh this number when more May sales are counted. But for now it’s something to watch. Keep in mind the number in April at nearly 104% was literally the highest amount ever above the original list price, so 103.3% is telling of an incredibly competitive market.
5) Word on the street: I’m hearing from real estate agents that they’re seeing slightly fewer offers and having slightly fewer showings. This is mostly anecdotal and of course subjective to whatever sliver of the market an agent is working, but it’s something to consider.
a) Know the seasonal market: Each year around this time in a normal year we start to see the real estate market slow and this image shows some of the things we can watch. Remember, prices could keep going up in coming time, but prices reflect pending contracts from the past, so being on the cutting edge of the trend in a market has more to do with watching other stuff before the trend eventually catches up to prices.
UPDATE: I just wanted to say I fully expect prices to increase in June and who knows how much longer. We are definitely still in an increasing market to say the least. I know it seems ludicrous to be talking about slowing in the midst of such insane competition. But this is exactly the conversation to have because let’s watch all the little things instead of getting overly distracted by the bling of sexy price stats. Know what I’m saying?
b) Don’t misread this post: The market is still 100% on steroids, so I’m hoping people don’t walk away thinking, “Ryan said the market was dull.” Nope. Also, the market is not crashing, so be cautious about painting what looks like normal seasonal slowing with a doom and gloom brush. Buyers, you’re still going to have to make aggressive offers. But sellers, stay in touch because even though you have an incredible amount of power, you did lose just a little recently.
c) The x-factor of mortgage rates: If mortgage rates dip below 3% again it could easily change the speed and trajectory of the market.
d) Be careful of rose-colored lenses: It’s easy in real estate to only speak in ultra positive terms about the housing market. But markets change temperature all the time and we have to be real about the trends because buyers and sellers need good advice for the market that actually exists. My advice? Let the stats form your perspective and narrative. Don’t get trapped into thinking you need to speak in hyper-positive language either to be successful in real estate.
e) Say something different if the temperature changes: If the market speeds up in coming months and we don’t end up seeing seasonal slowing, then that’s what we need to say. The best we can do at any given moment is interpret the stats in front of us and let that shape what we say. So for now it looks like we’re seeing some slowing. What does the future hold? We’ll see.
APRIL TO MAY: How has the market changed recently? Take a look at the April to May visuals below.
Prices in Placer tend to bounce around month to month because there aren’t that many sales. Take these with a grain of salt.
NOTE ON PRICE GROWTH: Last year the market was dull at the beginning of the pandemic and there was a slump in sales and even prices – which tends to inflate the numbers this year. My advice? Take the percentages with a grain of salt. I think it’s likely better to focus on price metrics generally being up about 20-23% or so rather than fixating on pandemic percentages at 25-30%.
Thanks for being here.
SHARING POLICY: You can share my stats and visuals above, but please attribute the source. Here are 6 ways to share my content (not copy verbatim).
Questions: Are you seeing any slowing at all? What is the market like in the trenches right now? I’d love to hear your take.