Returning to a Balanced Housing Market in Orange County

For years, sellers have been in control of the housing market. Multiple offers were generated almost instantaneously after hammering in the FOR SALE sign. Homes flew off the market in the blink of an eye. Frustrated buyers had to cut back their expectations after writing offer after offer with no success. It felt like housing was unstoppable and would continue its relentless climb. That is until the spring of 2018.

This year has been all about the evolution of housing from a brisk paced, hot, Seller’s Market to a much more normal, Balanced Market. The trouble is nobody really remembers a “normal” market. It is where homes must be priced well, or they will sit. There is no room for error. In a hot seller’s market, homeowners get away with stretching their asking prices. With very little inventory and heated demand, buyers were willing to pay extra just to secure their piece of the “American Dream.”

Today, housing is much more balanced, a market that does not favor sellers or buyers. Overprice and sit. Sellers that pad the price to leave room for negotiations will sit. Sellers who ignore their professional REALTOR® and arbitrarily pick a price, will sit. Ignore real estate fundamentals like location, condition, and upgrades, and sellers will be stuck without success.

An unbelievable 37% of all homes on the active listing inventory have been exposed to the market for more than 60-days. That is high considering 39% of the active listing market has come on within the last 30-days. Of course, everyone

expects Sellers in the luxury ranges to play the waiting game; however, many sellers in the most affordable price ranges are sitting on the market and waiting as well. Below $500,000, it is 28% of the market. Between $500,000 and $750,000, it is 24% of the market. About a third of all sellers between $750,000 and $1 million have been on the market for over two months. From there, the share of sellers who have been waiting to find success grows, from 40% to 68%.

For the rest of the year, the percentages will just grow in every price range. That is because housing is now transitioning into the Autumn Market. This season of real estate begins with the kids going back to school. It is no longer the most advantageous time for families to move, so many would be buyers stop their search for the time being. On average, demand drops by 11% from the end of August to the start of October. With less demand, there are fewer sellers who are able to find success. As a result, more sellers find themselves sitting and waiting.

With both the Spring and Summer Markets in the rear-view mirror, many sellers realize that the best time of the year to sell is now in the past. For the remainder of the year, carefully pricing is absolutely crucial. There will be more homeowners this year who will not be able to isolate a buyer willing to purchase and their contracts to sell will expire. In the real estate trenches, they are called “expired listings.” Expect the number of expired listings this year to spike compared to the rest of the housing run.

Sellers have a choice: price their homes according to the Fair Market Value or throw in the towel and pull their homes off of the market. It sounds simple, but many sellers quite simply cannot get out of their own ways, unwilling to listen to the real estate experts and do what it takes to achieve their goals in selling.

Buyers need to be aware that while it is no longer a hot seller’s market, it is not a buyer’s market either. Looking for a “deal” is a waste of time. They too need to look at offering to purchase at a home’s Fair Market Value. Anything less, and they will not be successful in securing their piece of the “American Dream.”