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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Olly, Olly All In Free...

There is some disagreement about that phrase. It is often written as Olly Olly Oxen Free; but, whichever, the phrase yelled at the end of a game of hide and seek told the still hidden that it was safe to come out of hiding now...that the current game was over and it was time to restart the game.

Well, it's time for a big "OLLY OLLY ALL IN FREE" cry to go out to the housing market. The current housing depression game is over and it's time to start a new game. The problem is that too many would be sellers are still hiding out, hunkered down and waiting to put their homes on the market. Well, Olly, Olly All In Free. It's time!

Our local inventory has been dropping for several quarters and now we find ourselves with a severely depleted inventory of non-distressed homes as well as distressed homes. The distressed homes have been selling so briskly that they are now subject to bidding wars as more investor money chases the falling inventory. And so-called "normal" sales have been good enough to more than absorb what little inventory that has been hitting the market. The result is an inventory as we enter the spring selling season that is pathetically thin, especially in the middle prices. Olly, Olly All In Free! Let's get out there people.

Many homeowners who would like to sell have been trying to guage the market bottom; but, as stock market analysts will tell you, trying to time the market is a fools' game. Stockmarket pundits can tell you with great certainty when the market changes...about a quarter ago. They look back at data that is months old and finally see the inflection points. We'll probably be able to do the same thing in the housing market. I'm sure that Lawrence Yun, the NAR economist, will be able to provide great scholarly proof of what happened and when, about 2-3 months after the fact. In the mean time Olly, Olly All In Free! It's changing people.

Somehow buyers seem to know that the end of the buyer's market may be near. They are out in a frenzy buying up distressed homes in my area, with many now involved in bidding wars over HUD houses and foreclosures. An would be move-up buyers are calling, looking for help because they can't seem to find what they're looking for as they wander around searching for lawn signs. That's because the sellers are still hiding. Olly, Olly All In Free! Come out, come out, where ever you are and join the new game.

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