A December Market Report And January News!

For our first market report of the new year, we’ll be reflecting on the results of December 2021 and the newsworthy events of January 2022—sit back and relax, there’s plenty to talk about, and plenty that affects you as a consumer!

Let’s start with December—as everyone can guess, we’re still in an extremely strong Seller’s market. As you’ve heard us share time and again, when we talk about market conditions through the lens of inventory and consumption rate, a balanced market provides for anywhere between 6 to 9 months of inventory. Above the 9 month mark you’ll find a Buyer’s market. Below 6 months, a Seller’s market. Most reports summarize market inventory on a basis of price point average. In our Palm Beach County Market, which includes many areas of luxury homes, analyzing based on price point is especially important. However, in this low inventory market, there is only a slight difference at the price points ranging from 2 months of inventory from $300,000 up to $999,999 and 3 months of inventory over $1,000,000—a far cry from the 9 months of inventory over $1,000,000 just one year ago. Any way you look at it, the low inventory and influx of buyers to our area has built up quite the Seller’s market.

December results show an increase in cash sales year over year—no surprise there, as people are coming in with cash (or simply not making the contract contingent upon financing) in order to win in the multiple-offer scenarios so characteristic of the Seller’s world we’re living in. Average and Median sales prices are up as well.

Now, let’s chat about recent reports—what’s happening now, and what’s forecasted down the line?

The Fed has announced it’ll be raising interest rates in a few months—there are some forecasting that this will slow Buyers who plan to finance—it bears keeping in mind that, even with an increase, we’re still at historically low interest rates. If and when inventory loosens and we have more options for our Buyers, we personally don’t feel the increase in interest rates will slow the average Buyer. What the increase may do is give Buyers cause to evaluate, and reconsider what suits their needs.

Another development that speaks to our times is that prior to the pandemic, approximately 10% of employees worked remotely. Now, almost 50% work from home at least part time.

In the news earlier this month were the new condo lending rules affecting Buyers and Sellers alike—certainly put into motion as a response to last year’s tragedy in Surfside, FLorida. Fannie Mae regulations will now require buildings to evaluate deferred maintenance cases, reserves, and turn over their declarations, covenants, conditions, restrictions, and budgets to the lender to evaluate before they’ll even consider a loan. We’re forecasting a large increase in condo cash sales to avoid this onerous, yet important, process.

So what does this all mean for us in South Florida?

Our sunshine state with it’s balmy weather, beaches, and no income tax will continue to bring potential Buyers to our areas. Sellers and Buyers, now more than ever, we’ll need to work together and strategize our approach to this market. Things are moving fast! Just take a look at the median times to contract and sale:

Sellers—if you have somewhere you’re looking to go, or you’re open to renting (even at a higher rate), carpe diem! This is your opportunity to capitalize on your investment. Keep in mind, however, it’s still a price sensitive market. Your home needs to be priced aggressively )but appropriately) and buyers will come. Now, how can we really tackle the opportunities offered by this market? For our Sellers, we’ll work together to determine the right price to drive multiple offers. Hold showings until an open house, or a window for showings, staggering them every 15 minutes or so. Staging photos and marketing all matter—even more so today because many Buyers and buying site unseen! The 360 Matterport photos are even more valuable, so Buyers can “walk” through your home—even when they’re hundreds of miles away.

Buyers—you can win this market too! You just needs to be prepared and creative. We at the Amy and Noreen Team have had enormous success with and for our buyers. You’ll be pleased to hear it’s not only about the price. The structure of the offer, terms of the offer, and creativity of your offer can make all the difference. Our Team takes the time to understand the Seller’s priorities in and outside of price for a well rounded picture; then, we structure our approach in a way that satisfies the Seller’s goals in every aspect—giving you the best chance!

Understanding today’s market is key to your success as a Buyer or Seller. It’s for this reason that we analyze and report on the market conditions regularly.

Stay tuned for the next report—or if you prefer to speak with us now, you can always reach us at 561-571-2289 or Team@AmyandNoreen.com.

Until next time,

Amy and Noreen.

Amy Stark Snook and Noreen Payne photo