This month’s National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Power Broker Roundtable discusses the state of the market and how brokers are preparing for another boost in activity this fall.
Cindy Ariosa, Senior Vice President, Regional Manager, Long & Foster Real Estate, Chantilly, Virginia, Special Liaison for Large Firm and Industry Relations, NAR
Neil Walter, CEO, ERA Brokers Consolidated, St. George, Utah, Las Vegas
Jeff Barnett, EVP, Compass Real Estate, Los Gatos, California
Drayton Saunders, President, Michael Saunders & Co. Real Estate, Sarasota, Florida
Cindy Ariosa: The other day, one of my agents whose own home is on the market told me she thought she’d “missed the wave”—that the price peak driven by pandemic buying was over. I don’t know that I’d go quite that far. But I do see, in my region stretching from Maryland down to the beach cities, some signs that the market is beginning to correct. Our pending sales are below where they were a year ago, and another of my agents complained that one of her listings, in nine days on the market, had drawn only seven showings. That’s hardly calamitous in the scope of things, but the same listing a month or two ago would likely have drawn more attention. It got me wondering about how brokers in other areas of the country are reading where we are at this moment. Neil, what’s happening in your market?
Neil Walter: We have three core markets, actually: Las Vegas, Southern Utah and Salt Lake City. I would rate them at the moment as strong, stronger and strongest—Las Vegas being the second busiest with an 18% growth rate year-over-year and St. George (in southern Utah) up 26% year-over-year, decidedly the strongest. It’s a smaller market, but it’s quite lovely and has a lot to offer—and it’s very much in demand, especially as people continue to relocate.
Jeff Barnett: In San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, we’re seeing our typical summer slowdown. What could be called “problem homes”—those not in the best areas or not in the best shape—that would have moved a lot more quickly a month or two ago are taking a little more time to sell. But the condo market, which fell through the floor during the height of the pandemic, is decidedly coming back. Overall, I’d say our market is still fairly robust given the season.
Drayton Saunders: That’s not dissimilar to what we see in Florida. It’s down from the insanity speed of March and April, for sure, but it’s more like normal for our summer season, when things always slow down a bit.
CA: So, you anticipate that the slowdown will pick up again in the fall—that we won’t see more of a market correction?
DS: I think we’ll be seeing a second wave in the fall, as more sellers feel the time is finally right to list, and buyers who took a break from the intense competition of the past few months decide it’s the right time to jump back in.
JB: I agree. We are still very busy, especially as condos come back into favor, and we expect to see that second wave as we approach September and October. There are still fantastic opportunities to buy, especially as more listings open up.
CA: I hope you’re right. I think the media and the press are a little behind what’s happening. Resort and vacation areas may remain hot, but I see a gradual correction.
NW: I think we’ll see a slightly lower pace, but that’s because inventory is still so tight. Las Vegas, for example, has less than half the number of listings that it had a year ago, so we’re still seeing multiple offers.
JB: The whole industry is once again in flux. Some agents are coming back into the office, where the vibe and the rivalry can make a difference, and open houses are beginning again—although many of the top agents, those who learned new ways to operate during the pandemic, may not ever come back to the office or host open houses.
CA: So, what’s the message we want to send to our agents?
NW: List everything—and be prepared to continue working hard with buyers. Helping them to navigate through an ever-changing market will be more important than ever.
CA: The good news is, there are still people desperate to buy, especially as pricing is getting truer.
DS: When you account for natural appreciation, though—say since the year 2000, prices today are not far off from where they would have been at this point, pandemic or no. And remember that in addition to all those folks who want to move, there’s a whole new, younger demographic out there who are just now ready to buy a home.
JB: Also, people are traveling again. Buyers who were reluctant to pull the trigger sight unseen can check out their preferences in person.
DS: All in all, we are prepared for multiple offers well into the second half of the year.
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