• Erin McGinnis

Quieter Market is Opportunity for Savvy Buyers

Real estate headlines for the past several years have been pretty consistent: Sales and prices are heading up! Multiple offers are common!

So when market activity started to get quiet this summer, and sluggishness persisted into the fall, agents and consumers alike began wondering if the slowdown wasn't just seasonal, but rather a sign of a changing market.

The reality is that fewer homes are selling now than they were a year ago. In Novato, sales in October were down 18% from the previous October. If you look at a bigger sample - Jan through Oct 2017 versus the same period in 2018, sales are down 11% this year.

Prices are a brighter spot, however. The median sale price in Novato is up over last year, which is good for sellers. The median sale price for single-family homes so far this year is $965,000, up 11% from $880,000 during the same period in 2017.

If you look just at 2018 (see chart below) prices spiked in the spring, and now are back at about where they started the year, hovering around the $900,000 mark.

A quick rise in interest rates is partly to blame for the slowdown in sales. Stock market volatility and uncertainty about the country's economic growth potential next year haven't helped either. The silver lining is that some economists are predicting that the Fed may slow its plan to raise interest rates next year, which could lead to mortgage rates coming back down a little. Historically, they are still very low.

If you are a buyer, now is the time to jump in! Sellers are motivated and you have less competition. The spring will bring more buyer demand as it generally does, and higher demand leads to higher prices.

Further reading:

Existing Home Sales Up in October, Ending 6-Month Slide