This isn’t a full-blown market update, but I wanted to post a few graphs real quick to show current market activity and movement. Let’s start with the graph below showing Average and Median Sold values for homes in Austin for the past 49 months.
So, what looked like a pretty bleak December/January (lowest of lows for past 49 months. See the previous bottoms) quickly turned into an upswing. This isn’t necessarily unusual. In fact, if you look back at every May in the chart, that’s when the price peaks normally occur, and we’re heading that direction again this year. What is unusual is the fast and sudden absorption rate of homes combined with shrinking inventory. This is a sudden “spike”, at minimum, and may develop into a sustained upswing. I’ve been monitoring this and don’t see any let-up yet.
Let’s look at the Active/Pending chart below.
Above, we see the aftermath of the Tech Bust in 2000/2001, and what happened to the Austin sales market in 2003. For 2003 there was an inverted Sold/Not Sold ratio. More listings failed to sell than actually sold. That’s a really weak, sour market when that happens. Dismal in fact. But then it happened again in 2010 in Austin. More sellers gave up (Expired or Withdrew) than successfully sold their homes in Austin. 2010 was the 4th year in a row of declining sales volume.
Then in 2011, we see these lines achieving separation again as the number of failed sales drops and the number of closed sales increases. And the separation is sudden and pronounced, indicating very strong buyer demand.
Now let’s see what that graph would look like for just the first 3 months of 2012.
The last time the Austin real estate market saw this many multiple offers was in 2006 and 2007. Back then, buyers working with me and Sylvia won more than their share of these competitive offers by following a simple strategy, which was, make your offer acceptable and ready to sign with no mistakes or weird language. That’s it, basically. There is also the cover letter, and offer price strategy, but it’s not rocket science. More on that in a minute.
I was fired by a buyer in 2006, who told Sylvia “I only want to work with you from now on. Steve is pushy, arrogant, rude and doesn’t listen to me“. Actually, I did listen to the most important thing this buyer was telling me. She really, really wanted this house and would be very upset if she lost it to another buyer. Understood. I know the mission and what we must do, I told her. We need to write a winning offer, and I know how to do that.
So we sat in Starbucks and started writing the offer, at which point this California buyer wanted to instruct me about how and what to write, which included some non-standard language and quirky California nonsense. I was confused, because on the one hand, buyer really wanted to be selected over the other multiple offers, but on the other hand buyer was insisting we write the offer in a way that would doom it to failure.
Therefore, I repeatedly said, “no, we’re not going to write that in. You want your offer to be the one the seller likes most and decides to sign without countering“. It was like pulling teeth, partly because we were both “Type A personalities, but what we ended up presenting the seller was a super clean, ready-to-sign offer, with no mistakes or goofy non-standard provisions. Seller indeed liked our offer best and signed off as-is, without countering everyone for “best and final”. The buyer got the outcome she really wanted and was happy about that. But then she fired me because she was so upset with my refusal to write the offer her way. I felt less bad about that than I would have felt about sending in a crappy, embarrassing offer that failed the buyer. Sylvia took over and everything went smooth through to closing.
Fast forward to yesterday.