A friend and I were having our morning cup at Peets to get caught up when the discussion turned to real estate. My friend had commented about how there appeared to be fewer and fewer real estate signs out on the weekends directing traffic to the open homes. She asked me if the market was really as bad as written in the local press. I responded be relating a story about how I judge our local real estate market.
Most agents look to market statistics to determine the trends. I also analyze board statistics. In general, the number of sales are off by almost a third and sales prices are softening slightly. But I have found the best indicator of strength in our market to be the number of real estate agents who are working. Think about it. One could randomly pick 10 people having coffee in Peets and (assuming you didn’t actually speak to the dozen or so real estate agents who are regulars at Peets), they could probably tell you of four or five people that they know who are “in” real estate. Historically, as our market goes up the number of agents increases dramatically. Do you remember 1998-2000. As the market softens, most of those same agents leave real estate (some sooner than others) and go back to their regular jobs. One theory that those leaving have run out of relatives to sell homes to can not be substantiated.
Unfortunately for some agents, the real estate market has not been as easy as they originally thought. But for those of us who are in it for the long run, the market is great. It goes up, we adjust. It goes down, we adjust again. The market is in a correction and as it continues, more agents will leave the market. When is picks up again, some of those who left will be back and there will also be new agents who want to make it a go. For the consumer they need to hire who is best for their real estate needs. Hint – look to the agent who has gone through a downturn or two. He/she will know how to market your home in all markets.