Is The Housing Market As Good As Reported?

One of the most notable benchmarks for identifying the state of the housing market is the number of days a house is listed for sale before it is under contract; a.k.a., Days On Market (DOM).

Specifically, DOM relates to a single listing. When a seller uses more than one listing Total Days On Market (TDOM) reports the cumulative time (subject to certain regulations) a house has been for sale. With that said, DOM and TDOM is the same when one listing is used, and different when multiple listings are involved.

Once upon a time a TDOM of less than 6 months was associated with a seller’s market, and more than 6 months with a buyer’s market. It has been more than a decade since a “balanced market” was experienced prompting one to question whether the 6-month gauge will be rethought.

With all of that as background, back to the opening question – Is The Housing Market As Good As Reported? Certainly the TDOM is decreasing, but is the current TDOM correct? The answer is YES, but does it truly reflect what is transpiring in the market is another question. Here’s two reasons why.

Coming Soon

The MLS service introduced a new listing status (Coming Soon) in the second half of 2019. Agents have informally used this language to introduce new listings for some time via yard signs, social media, etc., but it was not until 2019 that the MLS officially made this new optional status available.

In an Active status the DOM counter is running. It is not when Coming Soon. It is up to the client, with advice from their agent, to decide how to introduce the new listing. It is the “free” uncounted market exposure during the Coming Soon status that has the potential to understate the DOM.

Off Market

Another change, which was introduced in early 2020, addressed the time a listing was under contract (off market) when calculating the DOM. Previously, the DOM included the period of time a listing was under contract if it went back on the market. Now, since the change, the DOM does not include the off market period. It is important to note that this new methodology was applied to listings going forward; i.e., history for previous listings was not updated.

As reference, the 86 properties in the $600s price range that were on the market in 2020 failed to close on 13 binding agreements during the most recent and previous efforts to sell.

Miller Group Realty

MGR is focused on a specific audience in order to bring greater value to clients. The specialization is the residential single family resales generally valued $600k+ in a portion of the Walton High School area. Awareness of these changes enhances ones ability to properly advise a client planning to buyer or sell.

Visit WaltonStats.com for further insight into this hyperlocal market.

Are You Putting Money Into Your Home?

There are many ways to put money into your home, and just as many opinions as to which is the best.

  • Stashing cash under the mattress or hiding it in the walls may be a safe place but not a very good investment, except when other investments are loosing value.
  • Paying extra on the mortgage each month is generally considered a good idea as it reduces the amount of interest paid and shortens the term of the loan.
  • Regularly maintaining the property is always recommended to avoid more expensive repairs later.
  • Making updates and improvements to kitchens and baths means living in more enjoyable surroundings and improves the marketability when the time comes to sell.

Here’s another way to put money into your home. The image of a foundation cement block wall offers a clue and a novel idea for monitoring a foundation for settling. Taking a photo and comparing it over time to the future condition will help gauge any changes and whether foundation repair is in order.

In the absence of a measuring tape one or more coins can be used and may even be a more accurate way to assess the condition. In this picture the crack is the width of about 4 dimes. Great idea, right?

Cautionary note…use pennies instead of higher value coins as under estimating the number of coins needed to plug the gap may result in the coins slipping inside and thereby unintentionally “putting money into your home” that may never be seen again. Sort of like playing the Vegas slots.

If you don’t trust your judgment or like the odds then head back into the garage and locate a tape measure.

Decisions Decisions

Deciding to buy or sell can be a spontaneous act or one well planned in advance, and in either scenario there is no shortage of choices to be made.

The 2020 real estate market has been unlike any other when it comes to the impact of the pandemic on the seasonal trends. As spring unfolded, which traditionally escalates the activity, buyers faced the question of whether or not to venture out to look and would-be sellers were reluctant to go on the market given all the health concerns and uncertainties.

The unusual slowdown began Week 14, hit the low point Week 21, and then shifted into high gear Week 35. The downward trend that normally develops in late summer has not yet materialized even as we approach the holidays.

In the midst of the pandemic the path forward was as clear as driving through a torrential rain limiting visibility of the cars ahead and even the center stripe.

In hindsight, late May (instead of usual early spring) would have been a good time to list a home for sale, and still is, as inventory remains extraordinarily low compared to the past 10 years.

On the flip side, buyers had similar concerns; e.g., is it safe to venture out to see vacant as well as occupied homes, what about near term and long term employment disruptions? Buyers that waited for more certain times now find most of the good stuff gone and less desirable or possibly overpriced homes remain.

Working with a Realtor with local market knowledge has always been a good idea, for both buyers and sellers.

Given the limited inventory a Realtor specializing in a very specific area may bring additional value to buyers as the need to discover off market property escalates. And, the break with the usual market cycle may lead homeowners who desire to make a move to hire a Realtor with a particular knowledge of their area and price range to gain the needed confidence and comfort needed to proceed.

Brady Miller has a very specific audience and client-centric business model.

The audience is the single family detached residential resales, generally priced $600,000+, in four Elementary Schools of East Side, Mount Bethel, Sope Creek and Timber Ridge that feed Dickerson and Dodgen Middle Schools and in turn Walton High School.

  • For buyers, the goal is help secure the deal or ideal home on the first attempt in the least amount of time.
  • For sellers, the objective is to prepare them and position the property such they have the best opportunity to net more in less time.

The Miller Group Realty (MGR) business model is one that places a premium on client interest ahead of transaction volume and pursuing a metro-wide practice involving condos, townhomes, multi-family, land, lots, commercial property and leasing/rentals as a generalist. There are no distractions associated with time intensive new construction listings or conflicts arising from the buying, renovating, and selling of investment property for self interest.

Having an exclusive focus on a specific audience, working were he and his family lives, and engaging fewer (2 or 3) clients at a time translates into a better overall experience.

Thanks to Ashley McBroom Photography for this awesome family treasure!

Contact Brady without obligation to discuss your particular situation, and visit http://www.WaltonStats.com to view weekly, monthly, and quarterly MGR curated stats that include higher value price ranges down to the elementary school level.

Walton High School Higher Value Market

A couple of interesting points to make after collecting and viewing the most recent Walton monthly data for single family detached resales.

The normal shape of the line chart representing the number of Walton Active Listings in all price ranges changed in 2020. The typical cyclical trend is represented by a steep increase early in the year, peaking early to mid summer, and then slowly declining through the remainder of the year. This year’s activity still had the mid-year bell shaped curve one would expect however it never reached the early summer highs of previous years. The later half of 2020 thus far has shown the same general rate of decline although reaching a low not seen over the past four years. The same narrative applies to the higher value ($600k+) Walton market.

New construction Active Listings (that includes under construction and to be built) numbers were fairly consistent from Oct ’16 through Oct ’19. Since then the number of Active Listings have been declining.

Comparing the number of Active Listings (inventory) for the month of October, going back to 2015, it appears that seller’s of higher value ($600k+) homes had a more difficult time attracting buyers. Specifically, about 65% of all Active Listings in Oct ’20 were over $600k compared to the fairly consistent 45% experienced in the previous five Octobers.

Where to look if planning to make a Walton purchase in East Side, Mount Bethel, Sope Creek or Timber Ridge:

  • under $600k in Mount Bethel and East Side
  • $600s in East Side and Sope Creek
  • $700s in Mount Bethel and Sope Creek
  • $800s – $1m in East Side and Sope Creek
  • $1m – $1.5m in East Side and Sope Creek
  • over $1.5m in Sope Creek

Buyers not finding their ideal Walton home should approach Brady to discuss their situation. Perhaps his exclusive hyperlocal focus can best prepare the buyer to make a successful offer on a new listing as well as to identify potential off market properties.

How’s The Market, in Walton?

The featured image represents the number of higher value ($600k+) single family detached resale Active Listings in four elementary schools (East Side, Mt Bethel, Sope Creek, Timber Ridge) that feed into Walton High School.

It is not surprising to see the dip that occurred earlier in the year when the virus took hold in the U.S. It also may not be unexpected this year to see the typical spring activity pushed out a few months as the news outlets reported a bounce or recovery in the market after the nationwide shutdown began to ease. And of course one hears again and again that the housing inventory is low, mortgage rates are the lowest ever, and the pandemic panic is being replaced by the in-town get-out-of-Dodge movement to the suburbs as everyone needs more space to work and school virtually from home.

The following chart is helpful for those of us that like visuals, as it puts into perspective what is happening in your world…assuming you are part of the hyperlocal market described in the opening.

The activity over the last 11 years can be divided into three phases which can be described as following.

  • The first phase of 2010 – 2012 generally represents the pent-up demand coming out of the housing market recession that began in 2007 and persisted into 2009.
  • The second phase of 2013 and 2014, which had lower numbers (refer to the table below), was a cooling off period from the excitement in the recent previous years as homeowners evaluated the market and their motivation.
  • The third phase that we are in now and began in 2015 saw an increase in the number of homeowners taking action to place their home on the market with a growing confidence in the outcome; i.e., a sale at an acceptable and predictable price.

What will occur the remainder of 2020 and next year is up for discussion on the mainstream news and social media, at upcoming holiday parties and around the table at local establishment. What we know now is that although the number of Active Listings is not at its lowest in the past 11 years, it is near bottom. That can bode well for homeowners wanting to sell, and be a stumbling block for those wanting to purchase.

I prepare daily for the opportunity to best serve my client’s interest.

Visit my website to learn more about my business model, the Best Home Marketing approach to selling, and to view a number of Walton stats by price range and elementary school.

WaltonStats.com

WaltonUpdate.com

MillerGroupRealty.com

BestHomeMarketing.com

Walton High School Inventory Low (!?)

Is “Walton High School Inventory Low” a statement or question?

I heard it again today, the “it” being that metro Atlanta inventory is low. While that relative fact is important to some, it does not really reflect the MGR market; i.e., the Walton single family detached resales over $600k in East Side, Mount Bethel, Sope Creek and Timber Ridge. The following charts and table illustrate the point. Continue reading “Walton High School Inventory Low (!?)”

Higher Value Walton Resale Contracts Surpass 2019

This past week, Week 32, produced another strong showing yielding 137 YTD binding contracts in the Walton High School resale single family detached $600k+ market.

Although 2020 took the early lead over last year, the economic shutdown prompted buyers and sellers to pause and 2020 fell behind last year YTD totals beginning Week #17, and continued to trail until last week. While this “recovery” is great news for the higher value Walton market the boasting needs to be tempered a bit as 2018 offers another benchmark to monitor.

 202020192018201720162015
YTD Wk 321371321431029790

Weekly binding agreement charts for 2015 – 2019 are available on the Covid-19 Stats page of the Miller Group Realty website.

While the good news is that the number of binding contracts is up, the bad news is that this activity is one factor contributing to the low (but not historically low) number of Active Listings. The following chart compares the month of August over the past 11 years. One answer to the shortage is to have more homeowners decide now is the time to make a move.

Contact Brady to discuss moving plans in the Walton High School and greater East Cobb area. His exclusive focus on the higher value Walton homes may well qualify him to best advise new clients.

Is The Walton High School Housing Market Immune?

Is the Walton High School housing market immune to COVID-19? Given the charts below, it would seem that it contracted the virus in March, developed the antibodies and is now on its way to recovering.

Miller Group Realty (MGR) has been tracking since March the weekly higher value ($600,000+) binding contract activity in four elementary schools (East Side, Mt Bethel, Sope Creek, Timber Ridge) that feed Walton. Continue reading “Is The Walton High School Housing Market Immune?”

What’s Real in Real Estate?

What’s reality?

A higher value sale in the Miller Group Realty (MGR) target market was recently recorded. The MLS indicates it went under contract in only 11 days at 100% of the asking price. That’s pretty remarkable given the near shut-down of the housing market beginning mid-March due to the Covid-19 virus.

Detailed research, however, reveals a different story; i.e., the property had actually been on/off the market four times over the past 11 months, required 247 days to go under contract, and finally sold for 80% of the original list price. Continue reading “What’s Real in Real Estate?”

Is Covid-19 Negatively Impacting the Walton High School Housing Market?

Is Covid-19 negatively impacting the Walton High School housing market? While using a larger market, such as the greater metro Atlanta area, would likely provide better insight the following is pertinent to those with higher value homes in Walton.

The following charts contrast the number of resale listings priced $600,000+ that went under contract the first 12 week of the year.

Using the Dow Jones Industry Average as a backdrop and frame of reference it appeared that the 2020 steady decline in the number of binding agreements was in sync with the financial market. Both peaked about Week 8, and then began to decline. Is there a connection?

2020 DJIA2020 Binding 3-21-20

It seemed so, until past year’s data was collected. Several recent years mimic to a degree the current trend while other years exhibited the seasonal crescendo one has come to expect from the early spring to early summer period.

2019 Binding 3-21-202018 Binding 3-21-202017 Binding 3-21-202016 Binding 3-21-202015 Binding 3-21-20

The Walton housing market provides a small data sample and therefore trends are difficult to detect. With that said, the number of binding contracts through the first 12 weeks of 2020 is well ahead of recent years. Will that pace continue?

I personally believe a slowdown has begun in the Walton area as well as across the country. There is just too much uncertainty surrounding the virus at the present to make any specific projections with a high level of confidence. Are we entering another “2008”? Time will tell. What I do believe to be certain is that anyone with a house currently on the market had better adjust their outlook (lower) if they want to reach the closing table in the next four to eight weeks.