Fewer houses on market right now, and more serious buyers

Real estate agents suggest listing homes now

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published March 1, 2017

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METRO DETROIT — Two local real estate agents agree that, with a drop in inventory and an increase in the number of educated buyers, now is the time to list homes for the spring market.

Kathy Broock, of Max Broock Realtors, said the low supply is not necessarily inflating home values because buyers are sitting and waiting for something better to come along.

“I think people are optimistic,” said Linda Rea, of Real Estate One.

Rea said her team has had a tremendous beginning to the year, with January being a little slow, as is normal, and February being “fabulous.”

“There’s not as many houses on the market at this time, and more serious buyers out there,” Rea said. “There’s a lot more to the negotiating with skilled buyers than ever before. They are more educated by all means, and they want to be represented by a professional.”

Broock said she has witnessed sellers, because of the low supply, ask more for their homes, but educated buyers are not biting.

“I think sellers would be wise to make sure their homes are priced right in this market,” she said. “We’re looking at a market that corrected in July 2016.”

Broock said Oakland County is down 13 percent in inventory, and mortgage applications are down 21 percent.

“There was an abundance of inventory last summer that was causing an abundance of supply and a lack of demand, which pushed values down a minimum of 10 percent,” Broock said. “We haven’t increased since then.”

While new construction sales were on fire last year, she said this year there is still new construction that should have sold but has not.

“Usually by Presidents Day weekend, people are out making applications to pursue property,” she said. “There’s just no inventory. Buyers are anxiously awaiting the spring market. We could have an early spring market.”

Both Broock and Rea agreed that while interest rates are projected to increase slightly, they are still at historic lows. Rea said they hover under 5 percent, depending on individuals’ credit — usually around 3.25-4.5 percent.

“I was there in 1980 when interest rates were at 18 percent,” Broock said. “We are fortunate. People should still be clamoring for real estate, and buyers should be appreciative of that fact. Sellers need to start coming to the table.”

Broock said homebuyers are largely in two camps — empty nesters looking to downsize and millennials seeking urban environments.

Modern, soft, plain lines sell, Broock said. Rea said young families who are looking to increase square footage are looking for lovely master bedrooms, gorgeous kitchens and opt for unfinished basements they can finish themselves.

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