december newsletter: best time to buy [2018]

December 17, 2018

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9

Ever since I started selling real estate and winter rolls around, people always ask, “so your business probably slows down a bunch this time of year, right?” Yes and no. Typically, yes, I have a bit more time to plan versus driving around all day the rest of the year. However, December and January have always been some of my best months with buyers.

People do not want to move during the holiday season. Especially to those of you with young children or big families, the thought of moving right now probably makes you slightly nauseous. Between traveling, relatives coming into town, increased consumer spending, fitting in all the holiday social events (I feel this one on a spiritual level), and attempting actual relaxation, working through a real estate transaction and ultimately moving home base to a different location isn’t high on anyone’s list. However, as is true regarding all unideal situations, we must see them as opportunities to do something great.

Thus, competition is down this time of year. There are not as many buyers shopping (for houses). Therefore, you will have more inventory to choose from and chances are – if sellers are trying to sell as soon as possible – they are apt to have more flexibility than any other time of year.

Everybody has a bottom line, and no one is giving anything away. However, compromise is more probable during this time. So if you’re a buyer with a THDA loan, now would be your time to make a move. Tricky timeline for when you want to move in? Give it a whirl; see if the seller will accommodate. Need time to “sleep on it” after seeing a house that checks all the boxes? Most likely, you have time.

However, it’s no secret that the market has slowed a bit, outside of seasonal fluctuations. Here’s how: prices remain higher YTD 2018 than 2017. However, units closed for Nov 2018 have fallen below units closed for Nov 2017 (excluding Maury and Robertson County). Further, all counties reported YTD fewer closed transactions through October 2018 than were reported through October 2017.

In a nutshell: demand has leveled off, and prices haven’t adjusted to match it. Part of that is due to a rather significant increase in interest rates this year, but I need to remind you all that we are still allowed to borrow money for housing at a rate well below the national average for the past 50 years. The average of all average rates in November for the past 48 years (1971-2018) is 8.05; November 2018 is at 4.87. So, yes, that’s higher than last year; but historically speaking, it’s really not that high.

Sellers – it’s time to get realistic. We can no longer look at comps from 6 months ago and consider them accurate. I am looking closer at what the market is doing right now, or since approximately September, for more precise predictions.

Website News

If you’ve gone to my website at some point in the last two years, you’ve probably noticed it’s kinda terrible and not updated regularly. New website launch will be January 2019. I will have all past newsletters on there for your browsing convenience, and I’ll actually start blogging. I know, just what we need – another blogger on the internet!

Thank You

Thank you all for reading and responding to this all year. It makes my entire life when you mention these emails to me. I debated doing something like this for awhile, and my only hang up had to do with my aversion to “putting myself out there.” Letting people really see you can either be the loneliest of times, the most surrounded you’ve ever been, or most often, a little of both. Regardless, it’s the heart behind it all that matters most.

Merry Christmas.

Syd Phil