What’s the market doing? What can we watch right now to get a better sense of housing trends during the pandemic? Here are seven things I’m keeping my eyeballs on these days. Anything to add?
SEVEN THINGS I’M WATCHING DURING THE PANDEMIC
1) Listings: We often think about listings increasing as a way to see the market changing, but right now many markets across the country are seeing fewer new listings. So at times change is best seen with less of something rather than more. It’s not a surprise to see fewer new properties during a pandemic, right?
2) Pendings: When the number of pending contracts declines it’s likely a sign that buyers have begun to back off the market. Like many areas across the country, pendings are down 40% right now in the Sacramento region. There are simply fewer buyers willing to engage with the current market. Also, one of the things we want to watch is the gap between all listings and current pendings. If this gap widens it will soften prices and give buyers more power.
3) Sales volume: When fewer sales start to happen, it’s a sign the market has changed for some reason. This image below shows we are at the beginning stages of seeing sales volume dip due to the pandemic. In other words, the second week of April clearly saw FAR fewer sales compared to last year at the same time. From here on out it’s likely we’re going to see bigger changes in sales volume since many homes beginning to close got into contract over the past month during the pandemic.
4) Canceled / Hold: A market isn’t just about what is listed, but what used to be listed. There have been over 1,000 listings taken off the market in the Sacramento region over the past four weeks. The removal of these listings has helped the market feel much more balanced than had these listings still been active. Key questions: How many of these listings will come back? When will they hit the market? Will there be enough pent-up demand to meet the supply?
5) Word on the street: What are buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals saying? The stories of today become the stats of tomorrow, so paying attention to what people are saying is huge.
6) Other metrics: There isn’t one end-all metric to tell us everything we need to know about the market, so it’s important to pay attention to lots of little things such as days on market, changes in financing, the average list price, the sales to original list price ratio, price reductions, the number of multiple offers, changes in various price ranges, concessions offered by sellers, etc… Let’s remember the market isn’t going to be the same for every property type or in every price range or neighborhood.
7) Prices: In real estate we are so obsessed with prices, but that’s really the last place to look to see the market. What I mean is change happens first in the areas above before showing up in sales stats a couple months down the road. In short, for now the slower pandemic trend hasn’t infiltrated sales price figures as of yet in Sacramento. This doesn’t mean the market is stable in every price range and location. All I’m saying is regional and county stats don’t show price declines right now. Normally I pull monthly price data, but I’ve switched to weekly in order to see the trend sooner rather than later.
I hope that was helpful. And yeah, that was long. But hopefully it was worth digesting whether you’re local or not.
A FEW RESOURCES:
New market video: Here is a fresh market update video. This is 30 minutes and perfect for the background while quarantining. Check it out below or here.
Q&A video: Here is a video I did recently with Doug Reynolds to talk about the market and appraisal stuff. I have many of these lined up and I’m glad to share them in the future. As a side note, I’m not an advocate for any brokerage and I’ll never take sides. I’ll do interviews with just about anyone as long as there is mutual respect and I have time to do so. I’ll share videos here only if the end-product is worth sharing.
Zoom with Grounded: I mentioned a Zoom meeting last week hosted by Grounded and some of you were able to join live (thank you). I have about four to five Zoom sessions per week these days, though most aren’t public. I look forward to doing these with many brokerages. Watch below or here.
BIG MARKET UPDATE (ON HOLD): I normally write a huge market update around this time of the month, but my entire life and social media feed has been one big market update lately. So I’m putting my typical format on pause so I can spend time on more pressing visuals.
I hope this was interesting or helpful. Thanks for being here.
Questions: What are you watching in today’s market? Did I miss anything?
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