Monday, January 6, 2020
We wish you and your families health and prosperity in the new year! This is a time for us to reflect on 2019 and look forward towards 2020 and what real estate adventures await us in the new year.
Q1 2019 – Uncertain Buyers, Uncertain Market
2019 started off with major concerns over the health of the real estate market. The latter half of 2018 was the toughest real estate market in a decade-long bull market since the sub-prime meltdown. In the first quarter, that same Buyer sentiment continued as there were few homes being transacted. Buyers had concerns over affordability, the trade war with China and the volatility of the stock market, which took a major hit in December of 2018. Homes were sitting longer on the market with very little showings. Sellers were shocked by this, yet many held onto 2018 price points and many homes sat on the market and were eventually taken off the market.
Q2 2019 – Stimulus Generates a Positive Reaction
In the second quarter, real estate activity started to show signs of life led by an interest rate drop by the Federal Reserve. The two key requirements for Buyers were locations closer to work, paired with areas with excellent school districts, which we define as “Prime Locations.” Prices saw slight drops but held steady in these areas; Buyers had fewer competitors if any at all. Areas that did not fit this template had longer days on market - anywhere from 30 to 45 days or more depending on the Seller’s resolve on the final sale price. If Sellers held onto a price that the market would not pay, they would either continue to sit on the market or take their homes off the market altogether.
The Condominium and Townhome sector has been majorly impacted if the homes are not located in a prime location. There have also been multiple new home construction complexes all around the Bay Area that have flooded the market with inventory. At times they have lowered prices to where it simply made more sense to buy brand new verses a re-sale home on the market. We have been able to negotiate heavily with these new home builders.
Q3 2019 – Momentum Continues with Yet More Stimulus
In the third quarter, the Federal Reserve dropped interest rates once again. This stimulus helped to kick off a flurry of refinances as well as lower rates for home purchases. This stimulus helped to get more Buyers out and about, however other than markets in prime locations, these Buyers were looking for deals and many were to be had in the market. Nonetheless there were certainly more Buyers making offers and getting into contract.
Q4 2019 – Even More Stimulus in a Low Inventory market
In the fourth quarter, the Federal Reserve dropped rates yet again, kicking off frenzies in certain markets due to the seasonal low inventory in this time in the market. With price reductions and low rates, Buyers continued to buy homes until the holidays came into effect.
Buyer and Seller Advice
As a Buyer, much will depend on which market and what category of home you are purchasing. Homes of any category in a prime location will likely come with multiple offers or sell in a short period of time. Single Family Homes outside of a prime location are still desired, and deals could be had depending on the location. It is yet to be seen if Condominiums and Townhomes will see a recovery in 2020. These are prime for a deal for Buyers looking for one.
As a Seller the inverse is true from the Buyers perspective. Pricing is key. If you over price your home, your home will sit with very little showings. The market dictates price and Sellers that continue to hold onto 2018 peak pricing must realize that the peak has passed. This is a reality that Sellers must accept before even considering going on the market. The latest data must be taken into account in your pricing decision. These will vary by home type and location. Homes will sell but not for more than what the market is willing to pay.
2020 Outlook and Beyond
The concerns about the China Trade War seem to have subsided as the stock market continues to trend upward. The expectation is that there will be a resolution closer to the election. This concern is now replaced by the uncertainty with Iran and what their next move maybe after the incident in Iraq. For our Silicon Valley economy, the health of the job market continues to be strong, the interest rate stimulus and momentum from 2019 will likely carry forward into 2020. We have yet to see the impact of the Tech IPO’s as some have had mixed results. The major uncertainty will be what happens post-election and will depend on who wins the election. For now, if the majority of factors remain the same, we should have enough momentum to have a stronger market but still a market in equilibrium overall.
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Posted by Alan Wang at 5:45 AM