Housing starts are down. Builders' confidence is low. Mortgage rates are very low -- 30-year fixed rate is 4.72% - that's before any buy down. Foreclosures are dropping. Have we hit bottom yet?
Are you confused? I've been wrestling with this for the past week. I would sit down to write this blog and would get this very fuzzy-minded feeling. Part of the problem is that it doesn't really jibe with what I'm hearing and seeing on the street.
Here's what I'm hearing: many agents are busier than they have been for a long time. Here's what I'm seeing: home sales are really increasing. I'm seeing new construction.
I have been looking at our multiple listing service (MLS) frequently this past week to verify what I'm sensing. Here's the test: pick a random sample of cities in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, then check those same cities against different months. I chose April, May and June to-date. I expected to see a large number of homes showing a pending status in April because of the tax credit that some buyers could qualify for. You might argue that that doesn't make sense because San Mateo coounty and Santa Clara county real estate tends to be higher end than $800,000. Not necessarily true. There were many homes for $800,000 and less in those counties.
In April, 134 homes showed a pending status in my random sample, in May it jumped to 183 homes pending and June to-date shows 73. What was really startling to me is that the latter part of February, March, April and May have historically been our Spring Market. Sales often fall flat after school is out. This year although open houses showed good attendance, buyers just didn't seem to step up. These past couple of weeks of June buyers seem to realize that on the mid-peninsula the real estate bottom was earlier this year.
Will we have another bottom? I don't know. That's why I love this business!
Marge Draper, REALTOR
KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY MENLO PARK