Balanced. This is the word that best describes Bryan/College Station’s Residential Real Estate market in 2016. Balanced.
It has been quite a journey from the Buyer’s Market that began in late 2008/early 2009, through the 2013 shift to the Seller’s Market of 2014 and 2015, to where we are today.
Let’s begin by taking a look at the transition from 2012 to 2013. December 2012 came to a close with 1,442 homes available for sale. While the total number of homes that listed for sale during 2013 was 3.2% higher than the total number of homes that listed for sale in 2012, 2013 also saw an 21% increase in the total number of homes that sold (units) and a 27.6% increase in the total amount of residential real estate sold (from $424,307,672 to $541,490,085). The total homes available for sale on December 31, 2013 had decreased over a 12 month period from 1,442 to 964.
The total number of homes that actively listed for sale in 2014 was down 6% from the 2013, while sales continued to skyrocket with 2014 seeing the total number of units sold up 9.2% over 2013 and total annual sales up 17% (from $541,490,085 to $633,756,812).
We continued to see the total number of listings available for sale decreasing through December of 2015 when inventory came very close to dropping below the 700 mark. Throughout the year, 2015 continued to show all of the signs of a strong Seller’s Market: decreased inventory, increased demand, multiple/competing offers on properties (especially homes below the $250,000 mark), and more rapid appreciation in some areas.
We also began seeing trends that became contributors to our current balanced market: more months with a higher number of homes listed for sale than the same month in previous years, first time home buyers who were unwilling to participate in the competitive home-buying market, and homeowners who were concerned about whether to submit an offer contingent on the sale of their home (unlikely to be accepted under those market conditions) or sell their home and hope that they liked what was available for purchase at that time. Some homeowners even considered taking advantage of the Seller’s Market by selling their current home, then entering into a month-to-month rental until the “right” home became available. It is easy to see why some people decided to sit on the bench and evaluate the market for the right time to “get back into the game”.
We really began to see a consistent shift towards our current balanced market in October and November of 2015 when total sales were lower than in 2014. This trend continued into 2016 with 8 of 12 months seeing fewer homes sold than in the same month of the previous year.
We predicted in early 2016 that we would see a shift to a more balanced market. We did not anticipate that we would actually see months where total sales for 2016 would be pacing behind 2015, but this was the case through late summer and early fall. We also predicted that the late fall and early winter of 2016 would see a re-invigorated market as buyers and sellers who opted to wait out the “madness” decided it was time to move forward. Indeed, this was the case. We saw a whopping 71% increase in total monthly sales November 2016 over November 2015 and December 2016 outperformed December 2015.
In the final analysis of 2016, we see that the total number of homes that listed for sale increased by 3.2% over the total number that listed throughout 2015. Unit sales are down 4.8% over 2015, but total sales are up by 2.4% (from $718,722,629 to $735,685,000). The total number of homes available for sale increased from 705 in December of 2015 to 858 in December of 2016.
We are predicting a continued balanced market through winter and spring of 2017. A balanced market is good for both buyers and sellers. When a market favors one party, transactions are more likely to become contentious. In a Seller’s Market, a buyer who pays top dollar is more likely to want every item discovered on an inspection repaired. The seller may be thinking that he or she should have to do nothing as there are 5 more buyers in line waiting to buy the home. In a Buyer’s Market, a seller that is taking what they perceive to be a loss may not want to do any repairs to the home, but a buyer (who may have just taken a loss on the sale of their home) will likely want to move forward only if the home is in great condition.
In a balanced market, you are more likely to find win-win transactions with satisfied parties at the closing table.
What does this mean for you? If you’ve been waiting for the right time to buy or sell real estate, your time has arrived.