The Housing Stalemate Between Buyers and Sellers Is Over

Robin Fenchel February 22, 2012

In an April 1st Day article entitled “Market Bottom Officially Reached at 2:34 pm This Afternoon; Impasse Between Buyers And Sellers Finally Resolved,” Kevin Boar, of 3OceansRealEstate.com, blogged about a property in Stockton, CA that had finally sold after going through five real estate agents, several thousand dollars in price reductions and 30 long months on the market, signaling that the absolute bottom in the housing market had indeed been reached at this particular hour on this appointed day, at which time we could all breathe a collective sigh of relief.
While written tongue and cheek, there is a great deal of truthiness to this, if I can quote Steven Colbert’s newspeak word. If the housing market is in the tank, then why are all these buyers pouring through Open Houses recently? Is it just curiosity? Or do that many people simply have nothing better to do with their free time on the weekends than to frequent Open Houses? (A cheap form of entertainment, maybe?) My take on this up tick in Buyer foot traffic is that:

  1. Buyers intuitively feel down deep in their gut that the housing market has “bottomed,” or “corrected.” (Truth be told, Buyers all seemingly appear out of nowhere and disappear into nowhere as a group.)
  2. Buyers are experiencing housing market withdrawal in what is coined in real estate speak as “pent up buying demand.” (There has been a house buying strike since the mortgage debacle of the summer of 2007, and the fence sitters appear to be getting antsy.)
  3. Re-sale housing inventory has shrunk dramatically since last year at this same time. (Sellers who don’t have to sell have taken their homes off the market, and we are not seeing the re-sale inventory increase dramatically for this “springtime” of the year.)
  4. New home builders have either opted out of the current market by postponing new building, while, at the same time, cutting existing new home prices to reduce their current inventories quickly.
  5. Buyers are becoming increasingly aware of the new favorable lending guidelines, i.e., the temporary increase of the conforming rate loan limit (previously capped at $417,000) up to $729,750 through the end of 2008, while interest rates continue to remain attractively low (30 year fixed rates continue to hover around the 6% mark with good FICO scores (above 720).

So what does it all mean? Well my “gut feeling” tells me that Buyers have their ear to the ground. Buyers intuitively know when a new listing comes on the market, and are in tune with what they consider to be a “good buy/value.” Buyers know when a home is “over priced” or “priced-to-sell.” Buyers know when other Buyers are interested in the same property that they are interested in. Buyers know when a home looks and shows well, and is priced right, because Buyers today are well educated…have done their homework, and then some.

Real estate is, after all, local, and what we’re seeing in the Irvine, CA housing market is an increase in demand as evidenced by the number of houses and condos going into escrow (that is, selling), and a diminished housing supply for this time of year. Both of which should translate into higher homes sales and stabilizing prices.

Sounds like the impasse between Buyers and Sellers may be passe…yesterday’s news. And that’s the truthiness of the housing stalemate…it’s over. And that’s no April Fools’ joke!

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