Will the Market Slowdown Rebound Later This Year?

Usain Bolt by Photographer Kai Oliver Pfaffenbach/Reuters (3rd party World Press Photo) Image Copyright Kai Oliver Pfaffenbach/Reuters (3rd party World Press Photo)
On January 30, 1969, the Beatles performed on the rooftop of the Apple offices in Savile Row for the very last time. On August 13, 2017, the great Usain Bolt unlaced his Puma running shoes and retired from the sport of track and field after running his very last race. And, on or about May 15, 2021, the unprecedented, lightning-fast real estate market that benefited sellers throughout the first half of this year, slowly began to fade. However, unlike the long-hoped for Beatles reunion or the possibility that Usain may, once again, break the sound barrier while running along an oval track, there is the possibility of a resurgence of the exuberance that sellers enjoyed in the not-so-distant past…

In a previous blog, I predicted that, come Memorial Day, the advantage that local real estate sellers maintained would diminish considerably. However, my prognostication was akin to that of the third string player claiming victory after being let into the game during the final thirty seconds of play after Lionel Messi had already scored eight goals. In other words, correlation does not imply causation.

Indeed, real estate activity has diminished. However, I had assumed that, come the end of May, sellers would be putting their homes on the market for sale in great numbers, buyers would have more options, and sale prices would begin their descent. Instead, the number of listings available for sale in the six county region remains stubbornly below 1,000 units. The underlying reason for the slowdown has to do with buyers who have, at least temporarily, given up the hunt. Several factors seem to be at play- After banging their head against a wall of possibility, many would-be-homeowners have chosen to swallow a few Excederin and are enjoying a much needed break. Meanwhile, everyone seems very intent on reuniting with old friends and family over a summer cocktail or glass of wine. Finally, the allure of lying in the sun while burning some of this spring’s cold and damp out of our bones is hard to deny.

Now, none of this is meant to imply that it’s a bad market for sellers to unload their existing residence. Conditions remain good. However, when you’re comparing today’s market to that which we just experienced, results are certainly going to pale. Sure, there are some healthy pockets of resistance. If you own a house, in good condition, in a great school district and it’s worth less than $350,000, you’re still going to crush it. 
Everyone else will just have to settle for “good” or “great”!

My latest prophesy? Come Labor Day, buyers will, once again, be off and running trying to find a new shack to call home. The demand is very real and remains unsated. Building permits indicate that new construction will, in and of itself, not satisfy the need. The great question is whether existing homeowners will begin to enter the market after a nearly five year draught of inadequate inventory. Until then, I’m going to continue to enjoy my paganistic worship of the god Helios while enjoying a tall Hendricks and tonic!
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