Unless you are in one of the few areas that are almost bullet-proof market-wise (if you aren't sure if the area you are in is bullet-proof, you aren't in one =) ), I recommend that you don't sell now unless you have to. If you do have to sell, you may need this sign out front:
What's Going On Here?
My opinion about the state of the local market is that we are a victim of our own success. Because we are not one of the areas of high appreciation that have taken a big hit in values, like CA, FL, AZ and other states, buyers looking here are confused. They've been waiting for prices to drop dramatically, and they haven't. So they are hesitant to buy because they are being told that real estate is a risky investment, especially now. Obviously, no one wants to buy and then have their property lose value, so they are waiting to see what will be 'the bottom' before they make their move.
However, the bottom they are looking for isn't coming because, as I've written before, bank foreclosures are nothing new for us here in the Poconos. Years before the latest trend of foreclosures experienced elsewhere, we have had a steady supply. (The reasons for this are a whole 'nother article.) Fortunately for us, we have had a steady supply of investors and bargain-hunters coming in to the area, so these homes have always sold well and the impact on our market has been minimal.
A simple drive around Monroe County will illustrate the growth we continue to experience despite the oft-reported and ill-named 'national' real estate market troubles. We enjoy strong commercial growth and development, a revitalized vacation industry along with its companion the vacation home market, and we continue to attract people wanting to live here and commute to NY and NJ because of our competitive cost of living, home prices and property taxes.
So Why Should I Wait?
Here's why now may not be the best time to sell your home in the Poconos:
- Property inventory is high Inventory today stands at 2,967 listings in the Pocono Mountains Association of REALTORS MLS, which is a 15 month supply when using the 2007 absorption rate of 195.25 homes sold per month.
- Home buyers are skittish Negative news in the media, rising fuel and heating prices and job insecurities all take their toll. Plus, election years traditionally see buyers less active in anticipation of changing policies with changing government.
- Mortgages are tougher for buyers to get Banking policies and regulations are tightening up in reaction to the foreclosure problem brought on by lax lending policies of the past. Also, appraisers are ultra conservative right now. Fewer homes are selling which gives the appraisers fewer comparable sales to use, and declining prices force them to be conservative.
So, if you CAN wait, please do. It will be better for your pocketbook and better for the market overall if we have fewer homes competing for the attention of the buyers who ARE out there looking.
Home Buyers ARE Looking & Biding Their Time
Hits on this blog, my website and all of the sites where my property listings are syndicated tell a story of buyers looking, shopping, waiting for a reason to buy. Some of them make their move when they see a listing that is too good to pass up and some of them are waiting for whatever bit of good news that will restore their confidence in the real estate market. The home selling environment will get better very soon, we just cannot know exactly when, unfortunately.
If You Do Have To Sell Your Pocono Home
It will be difficult but not impossible to sell your house, so be prepared to accept the realities of the market as presented to you by your listing agent. As fellow real estate blogger, Jay, the Phoenix Real Estate Guy, advises consumers in his area:
“Realistic” is the key word there, and it is very difficult for many home sellers to come to terms with reality. That is understandable as it is hard to separate emotion from fact. Selling your home is a very emotional experience, but it is critical to look at it as the business transaction that it is. I realize and understand that it is hard to get past the, “but if I sold it two years ago. . .” thoughts and feelings. Get past it you must. This is not the market of two years ago. Homes can be (and are) sold every single day. They need to be in pristine condition, and priced and marketed appropriately. If you need to sell, it can certainly be done.
Fewer homes are selling - 30% fewer residential properties sold in our area this year than during the same time period last year. And, average sale price is down, probably because only the obvious values are selling (cut-rate priced homes, like foreclosures and distress sales, and not much else) the average sale price of homes in Monroe County is down by 9%. Of course if you have to sell, your agent will provide you with a detailed market condition report and comparable market analysis specific to your property, as markets vary greatly by neighborhood, community and/or municipality.
(Statistics for this article were gathered from the Pocono Mountains Association of REALTORS MLS on August 28, 2008, for Residential homes in Monroe County only.)
Still need to sell your home in the Poconos? Contact me via email [email protected] or give me a call 888.794.5589 to discuss your situation and schedule an appointment for a no-cost market analysis of your property.