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Monday, January 20, 2014

Slow January start in real estate...

The real estate market is really, really slow right now. How slow? Well, here we are in the third full week in January and the nine markets that I track on a weekly basis have a combined total of 55 sales. In “normal times” there would be more than 55 sales each week in those nine markets. To see all of the sales, go to my web site www.movetomilford.com and click on the What Has Sold Locally choice in the upper left hand corner.  When you get to that page you can scroll down to the bottom and look at the sales in January for the last 3-4 years, if you want to compare and understand better how slow the market is right now.

So, what’s going on? For one thing the market is heavily constrained by the lack of inventory. There just aren’t enough homes for sale right now. Then there is the continuing uncertainty about the economy in general – lots of people are still afraid of losing their jobs. There is the overhang of the real estate bubble which has lots of people still believing that they are under water on their mortgages, even if they aren’t. Many owners just haven’t had a recent market analysis done to see if they are now able to sell. Property values have come roaring back and most would be surprised at the current value of their home on the market today.

The final factor is the new mortgage rules that came out of the Frank-Dodd Act, which require mortgage lenders to be able to document that the borrowers that they lent to were able to prove that they col afford to repay the mortgage. That sounds like something that should have been required all along, but it wasn’t and the new rules under Frank-Dodd require that mortgage companies collect quite a bit more documentation of the borrower’s credit worthiness.  That is off-putting to many would-be borrowers and has complicated the process for all.

What all of this means is that are both fewer homes on the market and, now, fewer people out looking. Everything has slowed down.  This too shall pass; but, for now, one must learn to deal with it. If you are a would-be seller, it is still your time, your market. Get an updated Market Analysis done by a real estate professional and see where you are in terms of being able to sell. The market is expected to balance out later in 2014, so now is the time that you have an advantage and can get the most for your house.

If you are in the market to buy the words patience and perseverance should guide you. Normally those are words that I use with sellers; but, for now you really may need to be patient in order to find the right house in this thin inventory and you certainly will have to preserver in your efforts to get prequalified for  a mortgage.  You may end up spending more time searching on line before you find a few listing worth actually looking at with an agent. At least use on-line sites that are up to date with the latest listings from the MLSes in your area.

You can search for listings in my market area that are updated every day at any of my real estate webs sites – www.huronvelleyrealtor.com , www.themilfordteam.com or www.movetomilford.com . You can also get a link to a great mobile app from Real Estate One that you can download to your smart phone at my sites. I recommend these mobile apps to my clients because they allow you to interactively see what’s for sale in the area as you are driving around – a great tool. The app at my site is for Michigan only; however, if you go to your app store and search under Realtor, you can get the Realtor.com mobile app that covers the entire country.


For our clients and agents, our broker, Dan Elsea, does a video update for the market once a month, with his insights into the greater Michigan market and thoughts about the future of the market. To see his January Market Update, click here

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