It’s hard to believe that summer has come to an end and, a month from now, Linus will once again take up his annual residence in the local pumpkin patch. Early September is the time when both buyers and sellers re-enter the market after enjoying what is traditionally a six week respite from the process of trading deeds. Before forecasting what may be in store for the last two months of this year’s real estate market, it might be helpful to review what has transpired in 2016 up until now.
Traditionally, the local real estate market, driven in large part by weather conditions, begins on or about the first of March. For eighteen consecutive weeks, sixty five percent of the year’s real estate sales will be negotiated. By the middle of July, exuberance subsides and the market goes dormant for a month and a half. Well, as you may recall, this past January, we enjoyed unseasonably warm temperatures. Remember the hordes of recent college grads donning shorts and sandals as they navigated their way down Park Avenue to enjoy brunch at Jines? Obviously, there’s only so much real estate that will be transacted in a given community during a given period of time. So many deals were consummated in the first five months of the year that it seems that all of the real estate that is traditionally sold during a conventional spring market was negotiated by Memorial Day.
Post-Memorial Day, the market has been fairly quiet. The questions that perplexed agents, brokers, and other market-watchers this past summer had to do with the underlying reasons for the quiet and where the market was headed. Was the market still trying to catch its breath after so much spring activity? Or, was the market calm as a result of underlying uncertainties? Daily headlines conveyed serious concerns about the presidential election, a hornet’s nest of domestic issues, and global economics (including The Brexit and the slowing economies in China and elsewhere). Were these worries impacting buyers’ decisions to purchase? There is a good bit of anecdotal evidence that, thankfully, not everyone was/is worried. More likely than not, positive domestic economic news is helping to offset some of the agita associated with global unrest. The stock market has rocketed to new highs in the past month or so while the national unemployment rate continues to ratchet downward. Meanwhile, interest rates remain near all time lows. Thirty year rates can be secured for 3.5% while 15 year rates are hovering near an astonishing 2.875%!
My prediction is that both September and October will be fine months to sell your home. The push/pull of the civil uncertainty that I just described will continue to be offset by low interest rates. However, as is always the case, come November 10th, the market will slow down as homeowners begin to focus on the holidays. My sense is that, weather permitting, those who had been sitting on the side lines waiting for a greater, post-election calm, will begin their quest for a new home early in the year. In other words, it looks as though we may have another early start to this coming year’s spring market!
I’ll conclude by saying, once again, thank you. It’s been a difficult year. Yes, my team and I will, more likely than not, sell $59,000,000 worth of residential real estate as we did last year. The numbers are strong and I don’t mean to complain. The difficulty, however, has come about as a result of some of the market-exhibited schizophrenia that we’ve experienced. On Memorial Day, we were celebrating another 20% increase in our business. Our sights were focused on increasing sales to $70,000,000 and it seemed within reach. Then, suddenly, that incredible growth was jeopardized as the market began a long and unusual summer hibernation. Thankfully, through hard work and focus, we remain convinced that this year will be as successful as last year. None of this, however, would be possible without the continued support of our clients. Nearly 80% of our business remains referral-based. The secret sauce seems to include our genuine concern for our clients, our team of experts (including our full-time client concierge), our forthright and honest assessment, and our commitment to local philanthropy. We’re grateful for the many compliments and the abundance of referrals. And we promise to continue working toward our goal of being perceived as the Wegmans of local real estate! Thank you! We hope that you enjoy autumn’s arrival and the pageantry of color that make this time of year so special!