by Susan Pruden
September 4, 2013
I've been pondering the ups and downs of our market so far in 2013. There's no doubt about it, we had a terrific Spring market. It started earlier than usual, in February, and soared along until the end of June.
Cheverly Market from February 2013 through August 2013
All those contracts from March through the early July made for a terrific settlement month in July - 15 settlements!
But the number of settlements in a month isn't a good measure of the marketplace. There are several measures that I follow very closely:
- Number of contracts written in one month. It doesn't matter how many or how few houses are on the market if no one is making offers on them. This spring, we had oodles of buyers looking and making offers. When the number of contracts written goes up and the number of homes available goes down, you've hit the magic mark (for sellers anyway) of multiple offers.
- Number of days on the market (from listing date to contract date). Fewer is better.
- Sales chances - how many months of inventory we have. That is basically how many homes are on the market on a given date and how many are selling per month. So if there are 6 homes on the market like we had this spring and we're selling 4 per month, then we have less than 2 months inventory - that's a strong seller's market. By the same token, if we have 15 homes on the market (like today) and we're selling 4 homes per month, then we have almost 4 months supply of houses on the market. That's more of a balanced market, not favoring either the buyer or the seller. I think that's what we're in right now.
What will the fall market bring? That's the big question. Will interest rates stay put? Will the Republican Congress follow through on its threat to shut down the federal government? Last time they did that it devastated the real estate market. It's too early to tell.
But today, September 4th, I would say that the hot days of the Spring are over for the time being.