Feb. 12, 2013

Home Sold Fast or Languishing on the Market? The Deep Divide in Real Estate Sales

Seattle Fast Home SalesI'm noticing an interesting trend in the amount of time it takes for a home to sell in the current market.  We've been talking a lot lately about how few homes are available for sale.  The inventory is strikingly low, and it's creating a strange divide right in the middle of the market.

It's beginning to look like there are two separate categories of homes for sale.  There are those that sell right away, and those that may not sell at all.

The numbers on quick home sales speak for themselves.  Homes listed near the major metropolitan areas of Seattle are selling in less than 2 months, 60% of the time.  Those are quick sales.   When half of the market's inventory is turning over that fast, buyers begin making frenzied attempts at purchasing the next best thing, as soon as it comes on the market.

Then, there are the homes that don't sell in the first two months.  There are quite a few of them, but not many at the 3 month or 4 month stage.  When we get up to 5+ months, they start adding up.  The number of homes that have been on the market for more than 200 days often outnumber those on the market less than 200.  Between 90 and 120 days, there are just a few homes.

As an example, I picked a few small markets.

On the Eastside, there are 28 active waterfront homes.  Four are under 60 cumulative days on the market (CDOM).  Eight are between 60 and 120 CDOM.  Fifteen listings are more than 200 CDOM.

The luxury market certainly has some unique characteristics, so I also looked at the Green Lake neighborhood in Seattle, and looked at all homes for sale.  The numbers were similar in that the "middle-aged" listings were missing.

Around Green Lake, out of 20 listings for sale a full 14 have been on the market for less than 60 days.  11 have been on the market less than 1 month.  These listings will probably be sold soon.

Meanwhile there is only one 60-90 day listing, and one 90-120 CDOM listing.  However, four listings are between 173 and 215 CDOM.  Clearly, most of the listings are selling right away, and those that don't, sit on the market long-term.

Wallingford, just to the South, was the same.  9 listings under 2 months.  2 homes at 161 and 285 days.  Nothing in the middle.

This seems to replay in a lot of markets, and it probably has to do with the current buyer market and its mentality.  If the best deals are all getting scooped up quickly, old listings start to take on a "there must be something wrong with it" label.  While this may or may not be true, it's one of those cliches that still pervades many buyers' minds, especially in a hot market.

Why do these homes languish?  In a hot seller's market, there are only 3 reasons:

  1. The price is too high
  2. The home isn't visually prepared for the market
  3. Not enough people have seen the home

If your home seems to be languishing on the market, it takes an honest re-evaluation to get that kind of home back in front of the willing buyer market.  Look strongly at your pricing and be realistic.  Make sure the home invites a buyer into a fresh, clean, bright, warm feeling as they enter the most important rooms (entry, kitchen, baths, living, master suite).  Get as much visibility online as you can.  90% of buyers are online.  Stick to the basics, and you'll be making the most effective use of your time and money.

© SeattleHome.com: - Sam DeBord, Managing Broker, Realtor
Coldwell Banker Seattle: Coldwell Banker Danforth & Associates
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