May and June 2018 Data and Selling in a Seller’s Market

Monthly Market Update:  Housing Statistics for Dane County for May and June 2018

Dane County sales of houses and condominiums slowed slightly for May and June, leaving us a little behind in overall sales year-to-date as compared with 2017.  It is likely that the continued low inventory is the main reason for the slackening sales.  The tight inventory has also continued to push prices up so that for the first half of the year the median price rose to $277,861 ($262,000 in 2017).  We ended the second quarter with another rise in inventory up to 1.81 months.  But after climbing over the first five months, peaking at 4.66% in May, rates dropped slightly to 4.52% over most of the remainder of the quarter.  Economic conditions continue to be good for the time being.

Summary of the data for the month of May 2018:

  • Number of sales of single family homes: 775 (857 in 2017)
  • Number of new listings: 1070 (1153 in 2017)
  • Total listings available end of May: 1032 (1186 in 2017)
  • Number of months inventory available: 54 mos. (1.79 in 2017)
  • Interest rates up to approximately 4.54% (3.9% in 2017)
  • Median price of single family homes and condos: $280,000 ($260,000 in May 2017)

Summary of the data for the month of June 2018:

  • Number of sales of single family homes: 1021 (1095 in 2017)
  • Number of new listings: 1013 (1150 in 2017)
  • Total listings available end of May: 1195 (1242 in 2017)
  • Number of months inventory available: 81 mos. (1.87 in 2017)
  • Interest rates up to approximately 4.53% (3.95% in 2017)
  • Median price of single family homes and condos: $289,000 ($269,450 in May 2017)

Seller’s Market, A “No-Brainer” for Sellers, Right?

Not so fast.  By now, everyone has heard how much of a “seller’s market” it is, especially in Dane County.  But sellers should not assume that just because the market is favorable to them that they can do no wrong.  There are still many pitfalls to avoid so as not to end up stalled on the market.  And with the lightening quick rate of sales, the risk of languishing on the market are even greater, as buyers are quicker to assume the worst about a house that doesn’t sell right out of the gate.

Pricing:

You are far more likely to over-price rather than under-price a home.  Pricing a house too high is one of the surest ways to lengthen the time on market and lower your ultimate sales price.  It is tempting to price your home based upon that ridiculously high price one of your neighbors sold their house for.  You need to resist that temptation.  Seek out the assistance of your Realtor® to find the most comparable sales, taking into account the size, features, level of finishes and updating, exact location, and timing of the sale.  If you price the house too high, you may squander that critical first week of marketing when the interest is at its peak.  Pricing it right raises the chances that competition among buyers will bring it up to its maximum value.

Prepping for Sale:

You can’t just throw your house on the market in any condition and think that buyers will scramble to buy it.  Buyers are not fighting over every house, and a having your house in disrepair or disorder is a great way to have it sit longer.  It is true now more than ever that buyers prefer houses that are move-in ready.  The closer you can get to move-in ready (without breaking the bank!), the more interested buyers you’ll have and the more likely you’ll have competition over your house.

Marketing:

Sure, there are stories of people planting a small “for sale” sign in the front yard and minutes later their house is sold.  That should not be an expectation, rather you should plan to market your listing fully.  To maximize the number of potential buyers it is important to reach out to the widest audience.  Having your Realtor® put your house on the MLS gets you the most important, broadest exposure you can ask for.  In addition, you should certainly have a quality yard sign and broad internet exposure.  The importance of high quality photos can’t be overstated either.  Cutting any of these corners can limit your buyer pool and lower your chances of a positive selling experience.

Contingencies and Negotiations:

Even when you have multiple offers in hand, it isn’t safe to assume you’re home free.  It is critical to have good advice about what contingencies are acceptable, how they can be modified to benefit you and how best to analyze multiple offers to pick the right one for you; and that won’t necessarily be the highest offer.  It can be worth a lot to get the right closing date, a financing contingency with more money down, appraisal based upon the list price, or an inspection that is drafted to limit the buyer’s ability to back out for small issues.  Remember, in an emotionally charged atmosphere of multiple competing offers, buyers may act rashly to beat out the competition only to fall victim to buyer’s remorse once their offer is accepted.  Having a deal fall through means going back on the market after that initial excitement has already died down.  And less buyer interest may lead to longer marketing time and lower offers.

In Summary:

Even in a strong seller’s market, it is well worth putting forth a complete and diligent effort the market and sell you home.  In fact, the rewards could be significantly greater than other times.