Market information from the Multiple Listing Service for single family homes for the month of January are as follows:
- Closed sales: 7. None were short sales or REOs. 2, including the $2.1 million, were cash sales.
- Price range of closed sales: $2.1 million – $570,000
- Pending sales: 29. 16 short sales, 3 REOs
- Price range of pending sales: $2.75 million – $265,000
- Active listings: 184. 20 short sales, 4 REOs
- Price range of active listings: $5.7 million – $300,000
Distressed sales are still making up the larger, 65%, part of the market in terms of listings going to contract, but the actual closings for the month are of regular sales. Based on the number of active listings, distressed sales make up 13% of the market.
What does this mean if you are a buyer? Based on the number of active listings to closed sales, there is still a lot of inventory to work through, so it is still a buyers market. Once you narrow down your price range and specifications however, there won’t be as much to choose from, so use the statistics and market information to negotiate your price. If the house you like is a regular sale and it is priced right, you won’t have as much room to negotiate as you will on one that is overpriced. If you are going to make an offer on a short sale bring patience and realize that when the bank finally does answer, they may ask for more than what you offered, even if what you offered was the full asking price.
What does this mean if you are a seller? You have a lot of competition so price really does matter. Look at the active sales that most closely match your home in terms of size, location, updates, lot size, amenities. Consider pricing it 10-15% below your closest competition, make sure it has great curb appeal, and de-clutter and freshen up the inside with some elbow grease and a fresh coat of neutral paint. The good news is that if your house is priced right compared to your competition, it will sell.