Branson Housing Market Update – January 2010

Housing market reports are often presented as “good news” and “bad news”. The thing is, just like the stock market, what one might consider “bad news” often presents an opportunity for someone else. That’s the case with the current state of our real estate market.

Buyers should be encouraged to enter the market for several reasons…

  1. Lower (but no longer falling) home prices. This is huge! The fear of buying during a crash is that home values will continue falling. Well, the statistics indicate that we appear to be on the path of price stabilization.
  2. Motivated sellers. There’s stiff competition among sellers, and for good reason. Foreclosed properties are often going to undercut just about any seller out there, and those distressed sales are taking up a pretty big slice of the pie… 24% of sales in Dec were foreclosed properties. Combine that with incredibly high inventory levels, high average days on the market, you’ve got a lot of sellers ready to deal.
  3. Negotiation Opportunity. The last quarter of 2009, homes that sold were going for about 90% of list price. That means more than half of sellers out there are willing to give a buyer at least 10% off the listing price. Count on a buyer’s agent who will help you effectively negotiate such terms.
  4. Incentives. Lots of them. In Missouri, there’s a new program (which I recently wrote a blog post about) that will give buyers up to $1,250 when they purchase a home, and additional incentives are given based on energy-effeciency improvements and the total benefit can reach as high as $1,750. Of course, the fed’s home buyer tax credit will give up to $8,000 as well.

Put those things together, and it’s a pretty irresistible time to buy. These benefits are time sensitive, after all… The HOPE funds are expected to last through March, the federal tax credit expires this spring, and the housing market is likely to heat up this spring into summer months.

What about Sellers? Well, it’s a tough time to sell right now, that’s for sure. My best advice is…

  1. Make sure you’ve hired a killer listing agent. They can be your best hope right now. I’d be happy to recommend a good one.
  2. Price it low, low, low. Resist the urge to leave a lot of negotiating room. Price it as low as you can to get the attention of any potential buyers out there – otherwise, you’re one in a million.
  3. Hang tight. It looks like things might be making a turn-around, so don’t give up hope. We could see things start to pick up once the sun comes out this spring!

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