Despite reports that home sales increased in August, homes priced above $300,000 stalled in most neighborhoods. August sales are typically impacted by the start of school and people vacationing, but most Realtors experienced a greater slow down than normal. Even our open houses had smaller turn outs in neighborhoods that usually have strong turn outs, and showings definitely declined.
While I like to maintain a positive outlook for real estate, I like to also present a realistic view of what is going on from a first hand point of view. This is the toughest market to sell that I have ever experienced, and as one agent recently expressed, we are chasing prices down as Buyers become more reticent to purchase a home when a continued slump in oil prices impacts home prices.
The latest report from the Houston Association of Realtors indicated that our inventory levels rose from 3.6 months to 4 months, but with 1,089 homes for sale in Katy alone, it appears that this number may be as high as 6 months. This is definitely a Buyer’s market.
Homes are no longer selling in 30 days, but are now taking 60-90 days to sell, unless the property is exceptionally updated or located. Sellers will increase their odds of selling if they update their homes, but not every seller has the money to do the updates. If that is the case, I recommend pricing on the lower side of the market. A professional Realtor will need to work with sellers to advise on prepping the home to sell and/or finding the price that the home will sell at in the existing condition. This is not an easy task in an unpredictable market.
Please read the article on insurance as well! Many homes are sitting on the market for extended periods, and are often vacant. It is imperative that homeowners make sure they have adequate coverage during periods of vacancy. I recently received a phone call from a homeowner who’s home was vacant, and when I stopped to see the property, water was pouring out the front door! Fortunately, the homeowner had a vacancy policy in place.