Traditionally the few weeks in early June, between Memorial Day and when kids get out of school, are relatively slow. But this year there hasn’t been much, if any, late spring let up. It’s been pedal to the metal for the past couple of months. This weekend (and I’m counting in Monday), I have 4 buyer appointments and a home inspection, and had to turn down a couple of other appointment requests. Over the next three days I’m showing a total of 20 houses on a schedule that’s tweaked to within an inch of its life. I have 4 deals currently in contract, and am in negotiations for clients on two others. This is pretty unprecedented for this time of year. Usually a crunch like this doesn’t start until late July.
Good houses in peak demand sectors are also moving very quickly. I’ve had five cases in the last month where a new listing has come to market that fit what one of my clients is looking for, and I emailed it out right away. But the buyers couldn’t make it up for a week or two, and by the time they could come up, the house had a deal on it. (I set up two houses on Wednesday to show this weekend that had deals on them by Friday.) This market hasn’t been like Brooklyn, where house hungry buyers have to jump on a new listing as soon as it comes to market (and a hot property can be gone in a day.) I haven’t felt the need to tell buyers to “get up here NOW” since the market peak in 2006/2007. But that may be the situation again here in some market segments, like $300K to $400K ‘charmers’ with acreage and privacy or lakefront houses on the more desired lakes.
It’s going to be very interesting to see how the summer plays out. If late spring is any indicator, demand will likely remain strong over the next couple of months. The challenge will be whether there’s inventory to meet it, and if prices climb, whether there’s going to be buyer resistance. Take one popular market segment, the ‘country charmer’. Last year, country charmer buyers largely topped out price wise in the low $300’s, with demand soft much above that. This year, though, buyers with a similar profile are battling for houses in the upper $300’s (but topping out at about $400). Will that breach $400K this summer? There’s some indication it may, given that there have been bidding wars on a couple of really sweet charmers with asks just shy of $400K. Likewise, last year I could reliably find smaller lakefront cottages under $300K, which was a buyer sweet spot, but this year the sub-$300K lake cottage inventory is almost non-existent, so the new threshold may climb above $300K.