Market information from the Multiple Listing Service for single family homes for the month of February are as follows:
- Closed sales: 5. None were short sales. 1 REO. 3 were cash sales.
- Price range of closed sales: $670,000 – $340,000
- Pending sales: 19. 3 short sales, 2 REOs
- Price range of pending sales: $3.1 million – $369,000
- Active listings: 183, 36 of which were listed in February. 23 short sales, 2 REOs
- Price range of active listings: $5 million – $300,000
February was a slow month for closings, but cash was king with 3 out of the 5 closings being cash deals. Only 19 homes out of 183 on the market went under contract and new listings were almost double the number of homes going under contract. Strictly looking at the numbers, if you base inventory on the number of closed sales, we have 36.6 months of inventory. If you look at pending sales, then you have a much healthier 9.6 months.
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, especially if you are looking at more expensive homes. 57% of the inventory for February is over $1,000,000 but none of the closed sales were that high. 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. Inventories will start increasing as we get closer to the summer moving season and time is of the essence once you list your property. The longer it sits on the market, the more likely it is to get a lower price.