Shrewsbury, Massachusetts - As the 2013 year draws to a close, it's time to reflect back on just what the Shrewsbury real estate market looked like, and perhaps dare to predict where it may go from here.
Certainly it was a pretty wild year, both for Buyers and Sellers alike - not to mention those of us actively selling in the trenches. To put it into some perspective, 2012 was a very quiet year - as we began to dig ourselves out of the long recession, and Buyers buoyed in part by the low pricing, and more so by the record setting low interest rates, finally felt that they could wait no more, and began to rush into the market. This was evident really right after New Years Day 2013, as Home Buyers did their own "black friday" rush to grab up the few homes that actually were on the market at that time. This is not too uncommon, of course, as many sellers wait until "after the holidays" to list, and Buyers wait until "after the holidays" to buy. The question often becomes a race to see which sellers get to the market first. We'll talk about that later, but it's definitely a phenomenon to keep an eye on.
Getting back to my point, 2013 kicked off with a bang right from January, and it was such a refreshing thing to see the homes moving again at last. This activity continued all winter, with sellers who had given up thoughts of selling suddenly being awakened like bears from hibernation. Late winter and spring saw the activity continuing in crazy fashion, as many homes were being snapped up the moment they hit the market, or in many cases even before they were officially listed. As we hit our stride in mid-spring, and it seemed as though it was just going to get better and better, what was actually happening was that we were at the peak once again. Suddenly, we went from multiple over full price offers in May and June, to a market where Sellers, finally now up and awake, started to flood the market somewhat, leading Buyers to take a step back and pause, waiting to see what would be next. By July, the bloom was already off the proverbial rose, and things began to quiet down. Of course the well priced homes, and the "cream puff" properties, were still doing fantastic, but for the homes that one might consider the outliers, the struggle of finding a Buyer started to being again.
As that began to happen, the Sellers started fragmenting into a few of the key sub-groups.
1. The realistic Sellers who actually wanted to move, began to look at their asking price, realize it was too high for the current market, and make the adjustment.
2. The Seller who was on the fence, but thought they would move if they could get the highest price they had ever imagined, either dug in their heels and wound up letting their listings expire without selling, or took them off the market altogether to sit it out.
3. The Seller who had the resources, skill or time, decided they might be able to achieve their goals by making tangible improvements to the home, based on my approach of seeing what we can do that will cost us $2,000, for which we will get $10,000 more on the open market. That often meant taking it off for a couple weeks, and doing granite, repainting, re-carpeting, etc., and then hitting the market fresh.
In terms of hard data figures, here are some to consider:
In Q3 of 2013, we saw a 56% decline in the nimber of homes for sale.
The homes that sold, ranged from a low of 120,900 or a high of 1.1 Million. The medan Selling price was $384,750.
There were a total of 88 homes sold, with an average sales price of 431,175, and a median price of $384,750.
Interestingly enough, for those who wonder about whether proper pricing is one of the key ingredients in any sale, the homes current listed which have NOT sold, have an average list price of 549,300, and a median price of 439,000, or over $50,000 higher than the properties which successfully sold.
The Days on Market (DOM) statistics have been very consistent, with sold homes hovering around 117 days, however, this particular data point is wildly inaccurate because of the nature of how the system calculates this figure. As an example a home which was listed on day 1 and went under contract on day 5, but did not close until day 90, might show a DOM of 60-70 days, depending on when it's status was changed in the system.
Now for the big question...what does the future hold?
I suppose everyone has a different opinion on this one, along with a litany of data points that they hope will back it up. For me, it's less about the data than it is about gut instinct and a "feel" for the market. Right now, I sense that the overall sentiment is good, but perhaps the "passion" is not what it was a year ago. Whether that will change after the 1st, remains to be seen, but my prediction is that 2014 will show a slightly slower market, not moving in retrograde back towards 2012, but just without the rapid price spikes we saw during 2013.
As I mentioned, the real spikes in activity often occur just after New Years not as many believe, in March. With that in mind, I usually spend the last few weeks of the year frantically working with homeowners who want to get everything ready to go, and be among the first to hit the system in early January. If that's you, by all means ping me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can chat about it further. You can also stop by my website at www.stevelevine.com where I have tons of useful information prepared for you.
While we're at it, here's a link to an article I have coming out in the Community Advocate next week that talks a bit about the market, and my annual Homeowners Blend program. You can learn even more about it from the video below.
Until then, I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season, surrounded by love and peace.