Housing rebound not same everywhere

The national real estate recovery is being attributed to low prices and interest rates (about 3.67% for a 30-year loan). According to analysts, homes are more affordable than they have been in 40 years.

The inventory of homes for sale, however, is at the lowest level in 10 years. This is due to less construction, fewer distressed properties and prices too low to satisfy many potential sellers.

Even some sellers who have listed their homes are not receptive to purchase offers unless they are equal to or close to their ask price. Many banks that own properties are not considering low-ball offers.

In 2006, there were 3.5 million homes on the market in comparison to 1.8 million homes for sale in 2012. Given the increasing demand and limited supply of homes, the annualized price increase is projected to be 3.3%, according to the National Association of Realtors, Zillow.com and Fiserv. Markets in California are expected to have the most price gains. The weakest projection among the big markets is the 1.7% decrease expected right nearby us in Stamford.

Home prices are increasing in some areas because of a strong economy and in other markets because of buyers and investors “bottom fishing.” The areas where a strong economy is the basis of the housing market improving will be the ones that will sustain the recovery the best.

According to the National Association of Realtors and CoreLogic, the condominium sector did well during the peak of the market as compared to single-family homes. However, during the downturn, this trend reversed. In Greenwich, condominiums, which include town homes, condominiums and co-ops, especially in preferred locations, are in demand for a number of reasons. Buyers like the convenience, low maintenance and lower cost of utilities and affordability of these homes, as well as being socially connected.

Although prices for homes are still down from the peak of the real estate market, buyers can no longer purchase a house for 20% less than the list price. Homes are selling close to asking prices and Realtors are providing their sellers analyses to appropriately position properties. Appropriately pricing is important, as properties need to be appraised by the bank to secure a loan by the buyer.

In price points of some markets where inventory is lean, there are multiple offers. In Greenwich, it is the under-$1 million market. In the higher price points, buyers don’t wish to get involved in a competitive bid situation and will wait for another property or see if the first buyer performs.

Buyers involved in competitive segments should give their best offer with attractive terms and conditions.

Investors buying with cash, typically, are looking to obtain a property at a discount and are least likely to improve their offer by more than 5% to 10%. Investors are not emotionally attached to a house and will move on, whereas home buyers showing they are pre-qualified for a mortgage can be as attractive to sellers.


Mary Ann Clark is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker at 177 West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich. Questions or comments may be emailed to [email protected] or she may be reached directly at 203-249-2244.

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