Andrew Wetzel's Musings

November 23, 2022

2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers: Highlights

The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) has published its annual report. The report is based on surveys of recent home buyers including those who sold one property to buy another. The survey consisted of 129 questions mailed to 153,045 recent home buyers. These reports began in 1981 with just 59 questions and are intended to provide insight into consumer behavior, specifically their needs and expectations.

The reports are as unique as the economic, social and demographic environment. The time period covered ran from July 2021 through June 2022 and was impacted by a number of major events including a Real Estate market in transition.

The highlights are broken down into several characteristics.

Home Buyers:

  • 26% were first-time buyers, the lowest share ever recorded in these reports, down from 34%
  • The typical first-time buyer was 36 years old, up from 33, and the typical repeat buyer was 59, both all-time highs for these reports
  • The share of unmarried couples buying was higher than reported previously
  • 22% of all buyers said that their primary reason for buying was to own their own home; the number rose to 62% for first-time buyers
  • 86% of recent buyers used a Real Estate professional; 10% bought directly from the owner
  • 49% used an agent to help them find the right home.

As you will see as I continue, several factors have been adversely affecting buyers, especially first-time buyers.

Homes Purchased:

  • 12% bought new homes with 41% of them looking to avoid renovations and mechanical problems
  • 88% bought previously-owned homes with 31% of them looking for a better price
  • 79% bought detached, single-family homes
  • The median distance between the recent purchase and their prior home was 50 miles, up from 15 miles as reported between 2018 and 2021
  • 49% cited the quality of the neighborhood as the most important factor in selecting a location; affordability and proximity to family and friends were both cited at 37%
  • The typical purchase was at the full asking price while 28% spent more than the asking price
  • Typical buyers expected to live in their home for 15 years; 28% said they would never move

The Home Search Process:

  • 47% started by searching online; 18% started by contacting a Real Estate agent
  • 96% of buyers used online tools in their search
  • Typical buyers searched for 10 weeks, up from 8 weeks, and looked at a median of five homes plus another four they only viewed online
  • 86% found their agent to be a very or somewhat useful source of information
  • 91% were at least somewhat satisfied with their home-buying process

As I have seen in other reports, delaying contacting a professional may have an adverse effect on buyers especially if they learn that financing requires them to do some work to “qualify”.

Financing the Home Purchase:

  • 78% of recent buyers financed their purchase, down from 87%
  • The typical down payment for first-time buyers was 6%; 17% for repeat buyers
  • 47% used their savings for their down payment. 38% of repeat buyers used the proceeds from the sale of their home; 22% of first-time buyers used a gift or a loan from family or friends
  • 26% of first-time buyers cited saving for a down payment as the most difficult step in the process
  • 88% of buyers viewed a home purchase as a good financial investment

Home Sellers:

  • The typical seller was 60 years old, up from 56
  • 21% sold to move closer to family and friends; 11% sold due to retirement; 11% said that their neighborhood had become less desirable
  • Sellers typically lived in their home for 10 years, up from 8 years
  • 41% bought a larger home; 32% bought the same size home
  • 39% used the same Real Estate agent to buy as they used to sell
  • 86% used a Real Estate professional; 10% sold on their own, meaning without representation
  • The median final selling price was 100% of the asking price, the highest since 2002
  • The median time on the market was two weeks, up from one week
  • 91% of sellers were at least somewhat satisfied with the selling process

FSBO Sellers (meaning For Sale By Owner or Unrepresented Sellers):

  • 10% of sellers sold without representation, up from 7%
  • 6% of suburban sellers sold without representation while 13% did so in rural areas
  • 50% knew the buyer of their home
  • FSBO homes typically sold for less than Real Estate agent-assisted sales. FSBOs sold for a median price of $225,000 compared to Real Estate agent-assisted sales at $345,000.

Sellers who do not use a Real Estate agent typically do so to save the commission. Given the wide disparity in results that merits a conversation. That being said, some sellers say they needed to save the commission to make a move. Their choice but I respectfully suggest that all sellers think about it.

This is a lot to digest. How closely these results may reflect your feelings and experiences will vary. Selling and buying Real Estate is a personal decision, often an emotional one justified with logic.

Remember, when it comes to selling or buying what is likely your biggest asset and your largest overall investment,

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations.

HIRE WISELY:  We are notall the same”!

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November 11, 2022

Sellers, Does Disclosing Multiple Offers on Your Property Make Sense?

That depends. What is your strategy, meaning what do you think will happen?

The Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS Listing Contract has a clause that states in part, “Unless prohibited by Seller, if Broker is asked … Broker will reveal the existence of other offers …”. Broker could mean Agent since the contract is really with the Broker.

This “conversation” should take place at the time the listing contract is being signed so that there is no misunderstanding about what the parties have agreed to do. Frankly, I am not sure that all agents really discuss what the seller is signing, that all agents completely understand the listing contract or that every seller really understands what they are signing or that they really care as long as their property gets sold. My experience as a mediator and serving on Professional Standards hearing panels has shown time and again that a number of sellers and buyers claim that they did not understand what they signed. The agents may have done their job or not. Electronic signing can make this more problematic as people rush to execute contracts and get properties on the market and under contract. How sad! Real Estate is typically our biggest asset and largest investment. Mistakes can be very costly!

At the very least, this MUST be discussed before there is any interest in a property or there could be a problem especially if the seller thinks their agent acted unethically. Absent discussing the paragraph, the “default” position as stated is that the agent has been “authorized” to disclose whether or not there are multiple offers. If asked, the answer could be yes or no.

Many buyer agents will call to ask if there are offers “in hand” or “other interest” in a property before preparing an offer; some will even call to ask before scheduling a showing. In “hot” seller’s markets these instances will increase. Why is this a concern at all?

From a buyer or buyer agent’s perspective, they may not want to waste their time pursuing a house that may be unattainable as doing so may result in their missing out on their “second choice” if a seller has or is about to sign another offer. Our multiple listing service requires that the listing status be changed within one business day of executing a contract but a lot can happen in that time. Listing agents may have advertised a due date for offers that others assume valid only to find that something was signed sooner than expected. Real Estate sales are a “moving target”. Even if I answer your question now, the answer could change.

As far as the disclosure, some buyers may be willing to “compete” so thinking that there is competition may cause them to make their “highest and best” offer at the outset. On the other hand, some may decide not to compete. Are they entitled to know anything short of an agreement of sale being signed? No they are not unless the seller grants that permission.

What should a seller do?

As far as how to respond to inquiries about “multiple offers”, a listing agent MUST have a conversation with their seller client about how to handle inquiries. We cannot lie and we cannot divulge the answer without our seller client’s permission. We can tell others that we are not authorized to answer the question, which may make others think there is competition. How they handle our response is up to them.

I do not like to disclose that we have other offers but I believe that there is a time and place for doing that. Telling others that there are no offers makes no sense, does it? Whatever other agents and sellers do, throughout any given year, I see MANY listings expire, meaning that the listing contract ran out before getting an offer signed, or get canceled, meaning that the seller and agent decided to stop working together such as when the seller decides not to sell, that advertised in their “remarks” section that there was a “multiple offer situation”. That adds a “twist”:  the listing agent is answering the question without being asked. Did the seller authorize that? The fact that these houses did not go “under contract” and sell can mean that multiple buyers thought them priced too high. Did that disclosure help the seller? Did it deter any serious buyers who may have offered enough to convince a seller to sign a purchase offer? There is no “one size fits all” answer.

There is no guarantee that, regardless of the type of market or the amount of competition, a buyer will have a “second” chance when making an offer to buy Real Estate. If they really like a house they may want to consider making their best offer at the outset. Should a buyer offer “more” if there is real or perceived competition or “less” if there isn’t? Shouldn’t they base their offer on HOW MUCH they like and want to own a house and what they can manage financially?

A market analysis is helpful as is concern about an eventual appraisal if financing is involved but why should a house be “worth more” because someone else may like it? Suppose money is “no object”? Here is the underlying question:  what is the point of making an offer on Real Estate? I believe that the goal should be to lock it up to exclude other buyers. A buyer can do a number of inspections to see if there are any “material defects”. If their interest changes, they can request repairs or credits or even terminate a sale. I do not take any of these lightly but I do feel for buyers who misjudge the market and miss out on what may have been the best house for their needs and wants.

One interesting point of contrast is that a seller may entertain any number of offers, of course they can only sign one, but a buyer can really only pursue one house. I have heard of buyers making multiple offers but that can blow up if not handled properly.

My job as a listing agent is to “protect and promote” my seller client’s best interest. They rely on my experience, training and education even if we disagree about how to manage this specific topic. As I mentioned, I do NOT like to disclose the existence of other offers generally speaking but that can change when it suits our strategy. Let me share the possibilities.

Let’s assume we have a buyer agent with a buyer interested in making an offer. When the agent calls me to ask if there are any offers, which I presume to mean “in writing” and not a mere expression of “interest” which means nothing and does not always result in an offer being written and presented, if I do not know my seller client’s thinking, absent this paragraph in the contract, I would have to say that I have not discussed that with my client, which may lead some to think there are offers or not. Either of those could hurt my client.

Suppose I have at least one offer in hand and I disclose that. Will their buyer decide not to compete or could that make them try to win? Who knows? However, having one or more offers in hand does not guarantee that a seller will sign one or even be interested in what they may have offered. Suppose I have multiple offers but all are well below the stated asking price or have contingencies or conditions that concern the seller? While that could help me convince the seller that the price is too high, what sense does it make to tell buyer agents that we have offers in hand if none are going to be signed?

The life of a listing agent would be easier if every listing had quality multiple offers to review and if telling someone that they have competition compelled them to do their best to “win” but

human beings are unpredictable. In reality, an offer can even be retracted before being signed and returned, which we call “execution and delivery”. As I often say. It is never over until the seller has the buyer’s money and the buyer has the seller’s house keys.

Here is what I suggest and my seller clients have generally agreed with my thinking:

First, I do not want to disclose whether or not we have other interest or offers in hand.

Second, when I receive an offer, after doing what I need to do before presenting it to my seller, I will look at the recent and upcoming showing activity and review any feedback I may have received. I need to think about whether anything else might be coming in. If I think there is, we need to stall to allow that to develop. However, purchase offers have expiration dates and I never assume they are flexible. Waiting for an offer that does not materialize and letting one “in hand” expire makes no sense. Some buyers will just move on to another house, especially in a competitive market.

Third, if I have received at least one offer that a seller is strongly considering signing and someone inquires about the existence of any offers in hand, I will ask my seller for permission to report that we do have other offers. I won’t specify the number or disclose the details. Worst case, the caller does nothing and we are no worse off. Best case, they bring us an offer that is better than what we already have in hand. Absent a concern about an “appraisal”, before signing the latest offer, to be fair, I ask my seller for permission to let the other agents know that there is competition and ask for their buyer client’s “highest and best” offer. My thinking is that it would only be fair to let everyone now know since the latest offer was prepared with that knowledge. I have heard complaints about agents who were led to believe that a seller was going to sign their offer but changed their mind when a better one came in. We need to be conscious of what we say and do to avoid any misunderstandings. A buyer may be selling their house and have an offer they would sign if they knew they had a house to buy. Imagine signing an offer only to learn that the house you wanted to buy was sold to someone else!

Do I have to go back to those who took the initiative and brought offers in already? I don’t think so. If none of those agents ever asked the question, that is on them. If they did ask, regardless of how I answered, they should not assume or expect me to keep them up-to-date as the situation changes. Again, Real Estate is a moving target. The seller is my client and I work for them.

As I often say, this is NOT a “retail” environment. The asking price is not necessarily the final price and the purchase of Real Estate typically requires several steps allowing either party the opportunity to “change their mind”. It can be like a “roller coaster” and that aspect can wear on the parties or their agents.

This is especially true when the market is not “in balance”, meaning that sellers or buyers have a decided or perceived advantage. Our REALTOR Code of Ethics requires us to be honest, meaning that we cannot lie although our not being permitted to disclose something could adversely affect another agent’s client. I try to be “fair” meaning that I am treating all parties “consistently”. The public, including my fellow agents, deserve nothing less regardless of what they “expect”.


There is NO TIME for inexperience, empty promises OR false expectations!


HIRE WISELY: We are NOT “all the same”!

November 8, 2022

Buyers, Does It REALLY Matter If a Listing Has Multiple Offers?

That depends. How would that information affect your level of interest?

As long as a property is “still available” to bid on and you know if a contract signing is imminent, you have a decision to make. Even then, there is no guarantee that, regardless of the type of market or the amount of competition, a buyer will have a “second” chance when making an offer to buy Real Estate. If they really like a house they may want to consider making their best offer at the outset. Should a buyer offer “more” if there is real or perceived competition or “less” if there isn’t? Shouldn’t they base their offer on HOW MUCH they like and want to own a house and what they can manage financially?

A market analysis is helpful as is concern about an appraisal if financing is involved but why should a house be “worth more” because someone else may like it? Suppose money is “no object”? Here is the underlying question:  what is the point of making an offer on Real Estate?

I have taught the Accredited Buyer Representative core course and offered my opinion that the point of putting a house “under contract” is simply to lock it up so that the buyer and seller can go through the process of seeing if transferring the deed works for both parties. When a house goes “under contract” before a buyer can make an offer or their offer gets rejected that opportunity does not exist. There may be no “second chance”. First impressions may doom an offer even if there is no competition. Not to minimize the process of buying or selling Real Estate but both parties likely have one or more chances to reconsider their interest in closing a sale. This is not a retail transaction.

Of course, we are dealing with human beings. How they respond to real or perceived “competition” will dictate whether and how they react when they learn about a house they like. If they reach a “meeting of the minds” with a seller will they come to think they paid too much? Home inspections and appraisals can help “correct” that. Do they have remorse, wondering if they bought the best house for their “needs and wants”? I have specific ideas about how to approach “the search” to help ensure that a buyer will have minimal if any “second thoughts” but, in reality, other houses will keep coming on the market. Whether sales contracts fall through or new houses become available, they can tantalize a buyer who is not fully committed to a house they have under contract. I have had buyers want to view a new listing or one that came back on the market while in the inspection contingency phase. I remind them about our search and how they arrived at the decision to make an offer on the house they now have under contract. I also tell them that we have no idea how much other interest the new listing may have, what it will take to get a signed contract, what may have led to its being back on the market or what inspection issues may exist. A “bird in the hand” ….

Is there anything worse for a serious buyer than NOT getting the “best house” under contract? Competition is what it is. Others may be in a better position to buy what you want to own. If you start looking before you are prepared and organized, you may be forced to watch others buy the house you liked and wanted to own. All any buyer can do is “know their limitations” and act accordingly. An experienced, trained and educated professional can help! The Real Estate market is constantly churning and that can frustrate even the most serious buyer.

As far as how to respond to inquiries about “multiple offers”, a listing agent MUST have a conversation with their seller client about how to handle inquiries. We cannot lie and we cannot divulge the answer without our seller client’s permission. We can tell others that we are not authorized to answer the question, which may make others think there is competition. How they handle the situation depends.

I do not like to disclose having other offers in hand but there is a time and place for doing

that. Telling others that there are no offers makes no sense. Whatever others do, throughout any given year, I see MANY listings expire, meaning the listing contract ran out, or get canceled that advertised in the “remarks” section that there was a “multiple offer situation”. The fact that these houses did not go “under contract” and sell can mean that multiple buyers thought them priced too high. Did that disclosure help the seller? Did it deter other serious buyers who may have offered enough to convince a seller to sign a purchase offer?

Frenzied markets typically result in buyers and sellers having regrets, especially if they failed to plan and prepare as well as they might have. Did sellers wait too long to put their houses on the market or to sign an offer, thinking prices would continue to rise? Did they sign one too quickly? Did buyers jump too quickly, perhaps thinking they paid too much? Do they wish they had bought a different house or waited to buy? Did they wait only to find that nothing nicer came on the market? There is no perfect house search!

Some sellers have told me they settled to quickly or waited too long and felt that they had missed a better opportunity. I have read a number of articles about buyers having remorse. Whether they feel that they overpaid or jumped too quickly only to find that a better choice came along is a shame! They may not be able to sell for what they paid or recover their costs. Real Estate is likely our biggest asset requiring our largest investment. Mistakes can be very costly!


There is NO TIME for inexperience, empty promises OR false expectations!

HIRE WISELY: We are NOT “all the same”!

Bright MLS September 2022 Delaware County PA Residential Housing Report

Showing Time, using Bright Multiple Listing Service (MLS) statistics, has released their Local Market Insight report for single-family homes in Delaware County Pennsylvania through September 2022. If you would like information about this or any other County or any specific municipalities in the Delaware Valley, please contact me or visit my website, AndrewWetzel.com. I am only a phone call, an email or a text away! I respond promptly to all inquiries.

We are at the three-quarter point for 2022 and the Real Estate market continues to be affected by recent economic developments which have resulted in a substantial increase in the interest rate and the lingering effects of the pandemic (which contributed to an inventory shortage and then pent-up demand for housing). All of these have added uncertainty to what is generally considered a long-term decision. While many of us contend that our present circumstances should not be confused with the “housing bubble” we experienced some 15 years ago, it is difficult to really assess what is going on as information ebbs and flows. What will sellers and buyers think later when they reflect on these days and how they responded to them?

For example, the pandemic caused many sellers to stay off the market, dramatically reducing inventory levels. While many buyers delayed taking action, the easing of the pandemic contributed to many jumping into the market shifting the “supply and demand” ratios. In many areas, the result was a huge advantage for sellers. Complicating this were several underlying factors.

On the “supply” side, housing starts are down, complicated by supply-chain issues driving up lumber and other costs, a general shortage of existing housing as the number of overall households has been increasing and a significant number of investors are buying in bulk, typically with cash and limited contingencies, solely for the purpose of using them as rentals. Those purchases are estimated to consume about 25% of the inventory. There has also been a drop-off in foreclosures due to a moratorium. That will be changing so do not be surprised by what may look like a sharp increase in foreclosures as there is about a two-year supply to manage.

On the “demand” side, millennial buyers entered the market looking to buy. In addition to the “supply” side issues already mentioned, many of the “bulk” purchases include properties that generally appeal to first-time buyers. The competition for them and other properties has driven up prices and prevented many new buyers from becoming homeowners. As long as rental income remains strong, these investors will continue to acquire properties. The irony is a “catch-22”. First, rental income remains strong meaning high as many are unable to purchase their own homes which creates competition for rentals. Second, the elevated rental pricing is preventing many from saving for the down payment they need to obtain financing. I am not sure there is a way to change this dynamic in the short term.

Interest rates, while still considered historically favorable, have risen rapidly in recent months putting pressure on monthly payments. While interest rates have not historically suppressed pricing, they can influence selling and buying which affects “supply and demand” on local levels. Locally, I am seeing inventory levels increasing, some of which is attributed to sales falling through due to inspection and financing issues. The “auction-type” environment has subsided in many areas resulting in longer times on the market and buyers being better able to work through the buying process.

Many sellers and their listing agents remain overly optimistic as evidenced by a number of dramatic price reductions. Many buyers are refusing to continue the panic-buying hysteria we have been seeing. It appears that, as with the “bubble years”,  many sellers waited too long to try selling although, if they are buying, that may have been in their best interests. From a selling perspective, once again I would remind people not to try to “time the market”. As always, your experience may differ depending on your location and how you have been personally impacted. As I always say, the decision to buy or sell Real Estate is a personal one and the current environment typifies that as many sellers stay off the market or wait for a better offer.

Some buyers are waiting for a “bubble” to burst as interest rates rise. I recently heard a slogan aimed at buyers that makes a lot of sense:  “date the interest rate and marry the house”! That makes sense. You can refinance the interest rate if it drops so what do you do if you find the perfect house for your “needs and wants”? Will something better come along? Alternatively, buying the “wrong “house” will have financial and other consequences. Will interest rates continue to rise while you think there is a better home waiting for you? Maybe; maybe not! As with all serious decisions, having options can present problems! When do you commit?

As always, this report compares current year-to-date results to one year ago during the same time period. As with all Real Estate statistics, two things are true. First, the performance within individual zip codes can and will vary significantly from the overall County. Real Estate is local and results can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood and even block to block. There is no such thing as a “national” Real Estate market any more than there is a national weather forecast so, whether you may be thinking about selling or buying, please contact me for details about your areas of interest. I can provide current information and keep you informed about the evolving market. Deciding whether it is the right time to sell or buy, again a personal decision, typically involves a number of variables, some of which you can control and some of which you cannot. I can provide the knowledge and insight to help you decide what works for you.

My second point is that, unfortunately, all Real Estate statistics involving sold data are stale. This is especially true if you are relying on Internet valuation models which use recorded sales data rather than up-to-date MLS information. Even then, while a sale may be reported as having settled or closed today, the real question is when was the offer negotiated? Typically, financed sales can take 45 to 60 days to close so the market today may be different from when the offer was presented and negotiated. This is especially true as markets change. Up-to-date information, even if not perfect, is important!

As far as the statistics, there were 6414 new “For Sale” listings through September 2022 compared to 7403 through September 2021, a decrease of 13.4%. There were 5496 closed sales through September 2022 compared to 6041 through September 2021, a decrease of 9.0%. The median selling price through September 2022 was $300,000 compared to $270,000 through September 2021, an increase of 11.1%. The decline in the number of newly listed properties impacted the number sold while substantially increasing their selling prices. Real Estate is a “supply and demand” commodity!

The number of currently available properties (667) is above last month (615) and well below one year ago (767). The Days on the Market (DOM) (21) is up from last month (16), the “Sold to List Price” ratio (99.3%) is down slightly while the MSI (Months of Supply) rose above one month (at 1.2 months), about the same as one year ago. Again, these numbers vary throughout the County:  the underlying data shows a wide range of results in all categories among the 49 different municipalities in Delaware County. What happens going forward? Only time will tell.

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations! 

HIRE WISELY:  We are notall the same”!

August 22, 2022

Bright MLS June 2022 Delaware County PA Residential Housing Report

Showing Time, using Bright Multiple Listing Service statistics, has released their Local Market Insight report for single-family homes in Delaware County Pennsylvania through June 2022. If you would like information about this or any other County or any specific municipalities in the Delaware Valley, please contact me or visit my website, AndrewWetzel.com. I am only a phone call, email or text away! I respond promptly to all inquiries.

We are at the halfway point for 2022 and the Real Estate market continues to be affected by the lingering effects of the pandemic as well as recent economic developments, all of which have added uncertainty to what is generally considered a long-term decision involving our biggest asset and our largest investment. While many of us contend that our present circumstances should not be confused with the “bubble” we experienced some 15 years ago, it is difficult to really assess what is going on as information ebbs and flows. More about that later in this report.

The pandemic caused many sellers to stay off the market, dramatically reducing inventory levels and creating an inventory shortage. While many buyers delayed taking action, the easing of the pandemic released pent-up demand for housing shifting the “supply and demand” ratios. In many areas, the result was a huge advantage for sellers. Complicating this were several underlying factors.

On the “supply” side, housing starts are down, complicated by supply-chain issues driving up lumber and other costs, a general shortage of existing housing as the number of overall households has been increasing and a drop-off in foreclosures due to a moratorium that will be changing. Do not be surprised by what may look like a sharp increase in foreclosures as there is about a two-year supply to manage.

On the “demand” side, millennial buyers have entered the market looking to buy. In addition, a significant number of investors are buying in bulk, typically with cash and limited contingencies, solely for the purpose of using them as rentals. Those purchases are estimated to consume about 25% of the inventory. Unfortunately, many of these purchases include properties that generally appeal to first-time buyers. The competition for them has driven up prices and prevented many new buyers from becoming homeowners. As long as rental income remains strong, these investors will continue to acquire properties. The irony is two-fold. First, rental income remains strong as many are unable to purchase their own homes which creates competition. Second, the elevated rental pricing is preventing many from saving for the down payment they need to obtain financing. I am not sure there is a way to change this in the short term.

Interest rates, while still considered historically low, have risen in recent months putting pressure on monthly payments. While interest rates have not historically suppressed pricing, they can influence selling and buying which affects “supply and demand” on local levels. Locally, I am seeing inventory levels increasing, some of which is attributed to sales falling through due to inspection and financing issues. The “auction-type” environment of recent memory has subsided in many areas resulting in longer times on the market and buyers being better able to work through the buying process which should help them with their decision-making.

Competition in some areas remains intense. Many sellers and their listing agents remain overly optimistic as evidenced by a number of dramatic price reductions. Many buyers are refusing to continue the panic-buying hysteria we have been seeing. It appears that, as with the “bubble years”,  many sellers waited too long to try selling although, if they are buying, that may have been in their best interests. From a selling perspective, once again I would remind people not to try to “time the market”. As always, your experience may differ depending on your location and how you have been personally impacted. As I always say, the decision to buy or sell Real Estate is a personal one and the current environment typifies that as many sellers stay off the market while some buyers still do extraordinary things to beat their competition.

As always, this report compares current year-to-date results to one-year ago, the same time period. As with all Real Estate statistics, two things are true. First, the performance within individual zip-codes can and will vary significantly from the overall County. Real Estate is local and results can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood and even block to block. There is no such thing as a “national” Real Estate market any more than there is a national weather forecast so, whether you may be thinking about selling or buying, please contact me for details about your areas of interest. I can provide current information and keep you informed about the evolving market. Deciding whether it is the right time to sell or buy is a personal decision typically involving a number of variables, some of which you can control and some of which you cannot. Data and information can be found in many places with no way to know how accurate they are or what they mean. I can provide the knowledge and insight to help you decide what works for you.

My second point is that, unfortunately, all Real Estate statistics involving sold data are stale. This is especially true if you are relying on Internet valuation models which use recorded data rather than up-to-date MLS information. Even then, while a sale may be reported as having settled or closed today, the real question is when was the offer negotiated? Typically, financed sales can take 45 to 60 days to close so the market today may be different from when the offer was presented and negotiated. This is especially true in changing markets. Up-to-date information, even if not perfect, is important!

As far as the statistics, there were 4419 new “For Sale” listings through June 2022 compared to 4802 through June 2021, a decrease of 8%. There were 3538 closed sales through June 2022 compared to 3699 through June 2021, a decrease of 4.4%. The median selling price through June 2022 was $295,000 compared to $265,000 through June 2021, an increase of 11.3%. The decline in the number of newly listed properties impacted the number sold while substantially increasing their selling prices. Real Estate is a “supply and demand” commodity!

The number of currently available properties (649) is slightly below one year ago (665) and well above last month (487). The Days on the Market (DOM) (21) through June 2022 is up, the “Sold to List Price” ratio (101.8%) is down while the MSI (Months of Supply) remains less than 1 month (at .9 months), about the same as one year ago. Again, these numbers vary throughout the County:  the underlying data shows a wide range of results in all categories among the 49 different municipalities in Delaware County. What happens going forward?

Generally speaking, low inventory levels in some areas will continue to produce multiple offers even if not the same “auction-type” frenzy we have seen among buyers. In fact, some newer owners are already regretting a hasty decision to get a property under contract. This is amplified in areas where prices are flat or declining as those trends make re-selling costly. The “frenzy” is over or easing in many areas which caused many buyers to make offers “sight unseen” and/ or waive property inspections to improve their odds. I appreciate buyers trying to be creative to give themselves an advantage but combining buying “sight unseen” with waiving inspections is a recipe for disaster. There are not enough pictures, videos or words that can replace actually walking through a property and, regardless of how honest and knowledgeable a seller is, a completed property disclosure such as we have in Pennsylvania, is not the same as having a skilled inspector looking at the major components of a house, looking for problems with wood infestation, radon and other situations that can be unhealthy and/ or costly to repair. The effects of such creativity remain to be seen, perhaps taking a number of years, even for new owners happy with their purchases. I would highly recommend hiring professionals to do these inspection on your home in case there are unknown issues. Problems only get worse and costs to cure them increase.

The fact is that Real Estate, perhaps with the exception of those properties acquired strictly as “investments” with documented income, properly written leases and paying tenants, is generally not something given its expense and complexity that the typical buyer would want to purchase without an in-person showing let alone removing the protection of an inspection contingency. Technology, however advanced, has its limitations.

The overall economy, despite some people touting specific statistics, has serious issues that will keep some out of the market. Statistics aside, what are you planning to do? Real Estate is generally a long-term investment unless you are looking to fix and flip it or planning to move within a short period of time. There are opportunities out there. As with the stock market, it is very difficult to pick the best time to make a move. All you can do is get the best available information, determine what is in your best interests and then start the process. I am a phone call or email away and getting started is easy once you take action.

If you want or need to sell any type of Real Estate, now or in the future, whether you tried and did not succeed before or are planning for the first time, it is never too early to start the planning and preparation. Please do not wait for what you think is a better or the best time to start. Buyers look all year long and can only see and buy properties that are available to see. Based on the available information, is waiting something you would consider?

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations! 

HIRE WISELY:  We are notall the same”!

The Real Estate Market is Changing (Again!)

After many months of a buying frenzy that seemed more like an auction, the Real Estate market is changing. Inventory levels have increased with the market adding more listings each month than there are properties going “under contract. Some of these are houses that came back on the market that did not sell before and needed less competition and/ or lower prices to sell.

The number of multiple offers has generally decreased and, whether it is the market or buyers taking a stand, the number of purchase offers made “sight unseen” or without inspections seems to have been greatly reduced. Many agents and consumers, both buyers and sellers, are happy about all of this. However, when markets like we have seen change, often with little warning, one question always comes to mind:

What about the properties that did not sell?

Many properties came off the market and still remain off the market. I work with many sellers whose listing contracts expired without selling or who canceled their contracts. There are a variety of reasons for both expired and canceled listing contracts. Pricing and marketing are the primary reasons why houses do not sell but there are times when owners change, delay or cancel their plans.

Due to the pandemic, some sellers are still reluctant to let people they do not know and who may not be financially “qualified” to buy into their homes. Others may have issues they are dealing with, especially if they need to buy their own “next home”. While selling their home may produce a “windfall” if they have a lot of equity, what will buying cost?

My primary concern is always whether people are making an informed decision or reacting to what they “think” is happening in the market. Selling and buying Real Estate are personal decisions involving what is typically our biggest asset and our largest investment. As with the market 15 years ago, the sellers who jumped in early may have had the best success if they needed to buy another home. If that was not a concern, they could wait for prices to get to the point where they were compelled to sell. On the other hand, some sellers waited too long and missed an opportunity to maximize their proceeds. When will the next really hot market arrive? It could be years. Maybe not.

Buyers and sellers need to do the same planning and preparation that those tasks typically require, regardless of the market. Easier said than done! Anyone looking to sell or buy needs to understand their local market and decide how to react to the “variables” that exist. Hopefully, they know what they need and want from the process and understand that they cannot control interest rates, the economy, inflation and other things. The effects of buying and selling remain for years. They are important decisions and likely require the knowledge and insight that a Real Estate professional can provide.

I tell my clients that I cannot guarantee that their house will sell if it is on the market but am fairly certain that it will not if they take it off the market. Anyone trying to sell now may have less competition even if it may take weeks or months instead of days to sell and they may not see multiple offers. Hiring an experienced, trained and educated professional is more important than ever.

Regardless of “supply and demand” factors, every house will not sell. Houses may get showings without generating offers unless buyers think they are priced within the range of their perceived “worth”, whatever that means today. Most property listings whose contracts are canceled or allowed to expire have asking prices considered high for their market and/ or they were poorly marketed, meaning that some buyers and agents may not have even known that a house was available to look at or purchase. Some buyers may even make “full price” or higher offers just to control the process only to have remorse later as inspection results are revealed. Of course, this may well depend on the ratio of buyers and sellers so there is more to this than raw statistics.

If a market has a lot of inventory, some buyers may not be willing to look at houses priced high compared to the rest of the market:  why try to negotiate a price down when other similar properties are available at more competitive prices or similarly priced houses offer more? Many sellers open to negotiating their price will never get the chance. I will be happy to discuss specifics with you.

The “bottom line” is always that you should do what is in your “best interests” and plan accordingly. There may be no “perfect time” to sell or buy. Buyers waiting for the “best” house to come on the market may miss the one that really met their needs and wants. Sellers waiting for a better offer may see their activity level drop off or see offers lower than what they have already declined.

If you want to sell or buy, let’s talk. There is no obligation but you may get the information you need to decide what to do next. It is better to know than to wonder what might have been.

Remember,

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations.

HIRE WISELY:  We are notall the same”!

We Are NOT in a Housing Bubble

Repeat after me:  we are NOT in a “housing bubble”. We are NOT in a “housing bubble”. Now let me help you believe it!

For those who lived through the “dot.com” fiasco around the turn of the century, I never dreamed I would say those words but there was a REAL housing bubble 15 years ago. This market is CLEARLY different. That is not to say that it lacks drama or that it has not been incredibly frustrating on many levels, but let’s be CLEAR:  this is NOT a “bubble”. And no, I am not changing the meaning of the word “bubble” as some are doing with the word “recession”.

The current Real Estate market is softening in many areas due to increased inventory (including “leftovers” that needed less competition or lower pricing to sell) and rising but still historically low interest rates. Over the past couple of years a frenzy was created by a combination of historically low inventory, a global pandemic and competition which greatly elevated prices. This frenzy among buyers will have lasting implications. Many are now regretting their purchase decisions. Whether they came to feel that they overpaid or they cut corners including buying “sight unseen” or without inspections to compete, many are stuck with homes whose values may have dropped or that may have had unknown or undisclosed “material defects” or homes they rushed to buy without doing enough “due diligence” to make sure it really met their needs and wants. Many sellers overplayed their hands and wish they had sold! None of this makes the recent market a “housing bubble” as the frenzy was created by the actions of buyers and sellers.

The “housing bubble” 15 years ago was caused by government meddling that led to loose financing standards designed to increase homeownership among certain groups. We can debate the details and/ or the intent if you wish but the “ends did not justify the means”. While some may have enjoyed months of owning their own home, many lost those homes and their savings when the “bubble” burst and almost crashed our entire economy.

One question that seems to be on the mind of many people is this:  is now a good time to buy? Buying Real Estate, as I often say in my blogs, podcasts and social media posts, is a personal decision that depends on YOUR wants and needs. Another way to look at this is to consider what will happen if you wait. Interest rates could go higher or not. Supply may increase or not. Over time, while NOT a guarantee, Real Estate prices tend to rise despite or in spite of external factors. The “housing bubble” showed that you cannot force things to happen any more than you can “time the market”!

Again, this is NOT a “housing bubble” so I do not expect a sudden drop in pricing. However, prices will always fluctuate locally and across regions. Real Estate is a “supply and demand” commodity subject to the normal effects of economics, marketing and the overall economy. One specific aspect to consider as far as inventory and pricing is that there has been a moratorium on foreclosures throughout the pandemic. I have heard estimates that we have about a two-year supply that will be made available. This will likely be a measured process to avoid oversupply which would depress selling prices. Foreclosures may or may not appeal to the average buyer and, while “appearing” to increase supply and perhaps depress selling prices, they are not likely to have any impact on the pricing of typical resale homes.

Please call me if you would like to discuss this in further detail. I can add knowledge and insight to whatever data and information you have. Remember, when it comes to buying what is likely your biggest asset and largest overall investment:

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations.
HIRE WISELY: We are notall the same“!

April 20, 2022

The 2022 Real Estate Market:  Bubble or Not?

I listed and sold Real Estate during the build-up to the crash of 2008. I contend that this market is NOT the same. Let me explain.

Google defines “bubble” as a good or fortunate situation that is isolated from reality or unlikely to last. Good? Fortunate? That depends on your perspective which makes the definition vague, allowing people see both markets as more similar than they are.

Whatever you think caused the crash in 2008, I will focus on my personal experiences. Starting around 2002, the specific months and years involved varied across the country, interest rates dropped dramatically to generate buyer interest. Interestingly enough, the rates that created that heated market were very much like what we see today which has many complaining about rising rates. How is that for perspective?

In addition, and very troubling, lending standards loosened dramatically. The changes included a reduction in the minimum credit score required to “qualify” for a loan as well as increased ratios, meaning that prospective buyers could use more of their gross and net income to buy Real Estate. Ever hear the phrase “house poor”? Let me digress for a moment.

I have always asserted that the smartest people on the planet worked in finance of some sort. Not to disparage other professions but it is impressive to see how financial people use data to make decisions. I wish “analytics” in sports were as good but the issues with them likely relate to who is using them.

Here is my point. Lenders are NOT in business to loan money. Nor are they in business to turn down “credit worthy” borrowers:  there are no awards for “most declined business”! Lenders are in business to MAKE MONEY plain and simple and they do that by lending money to “credit worthy” borrowers. Many companies quickly sell their loans as investments in the borrowers using the Real Estate as collateral if the borrower defaults. They do NOT want to evict people to take ownership of the Real Estate. Doing that, in addition to the emotion of displacing homeowners, is costly and time consuming, perhaps costing them tens of thousands of dollars and the properties are often in disrepair.

There are two major components to making loans. First, the prospective borrowers must demonstrate their “credit worthiness”. Many joke that lenders will only lend money to people who can prove that they do not need the money. Anyway, lenders use “metrics” to assess how viable a prospect is. I do not know how they determine the “benchmarks” they use but do not believe that they intentionally discriminate although I am sure that some people let personal bias affect how they do business. Others may commit fraud to enrich themselves. I will focus on how things are meant to work. The standards are the same for ALL people as far as I know so, just because one group seems disadvantaged by the metrics, does NOT prove anything wrong happened. That is a lesson I think many need to learn.

The second component is an appraisal of the property to ensure that the lender is making a smart investment and, worst case, can recover their money should the borrower default. I have heard of issues where some allege that specific groups suffer bias with appraisals but think some of that may have more to do with location, features and condition rather than simply assuming that appraisal issues relate to the owners or prospects but that is a subject for another day.

During the years 2002 through 2008, it seemed like many borrowers with lower credit scores AND

higher “ratios” than used historically were buying homes. The “ends seemed to justify the means” and helped sell a lot of houses, enriching many. It also seemed like every sale was a “new high” for the local market. Then, the market hit a wall. It was destined to happen sooner or later regardless of what many thought. How many sellers turned down good offers, assuming others were coming. How many buyers thought they could delay buying waiting for something better? Delaying likely benefited buyers more than sellers unless the buyers were truly able to finance and own Real Estate.

Unfortunately, many borrowers were sold “adjustable” interest rate loans to “qualify” with little consideration about what would happen when their interest rates reset to higher fixed rates. In addition to the revised lending standards proving problematic, this change led to many new owners being unable to continue making their monthly payments. The new word of the day was “short sale” where owners were allowed to sell their houses even though the proceeds were not sufficient to pay off the debt. It was preferable to “foreclosure”.

As far as the effects on the Real Estate market, they happened in stages. Early on, many houses that had not sold earlier were now selling and many new buyers were able to achieve the American Dream, if only for a short time. The initial reaction was a surge in buyers, clearing out our prospect “pipelines” as many who had been “waiting” to buy jumped off the fence.

Then the market shifted:  the imbalance of new buyers and “For Sale” houses created stiff competition and drove prices up. It reached a point where the combination of historically low interest rates and historically high selling prices resulted in monthly payments similar to what would have occurred with “normal” interest rates and selling prices. However, the major difference was that you could re-finance a high interest rate but NOT a high selling price. While sellers continued to achieve great results, buyers were being impacted. Once adjustable rates started to reset to higher fixed rates the market came to a screeching halt. If you look at statistics in my market for 2008 and 2009 you will see a precipitous drop in prices.

The “bottom line” is that the 2002-2008 market was leveraged with many instances of bad financing decisions resulting in the “bubble bursting”. The “irrational exuberance” of many buyers hurt them for many years to come. As recently as a few years ago I was still meeting sellers whose property values were well below what they had paid years before. Some refused to sell for less than what they paid even though they had a lot of equity while others had used their home’s equity like an ATM and simply owed too much to try selling. There were many lessons to be learned, but did we? I still hear talk about trying to get more groups involved in home ownership. That is great but the devil is in the details and the end does not justify the means! Instead of lowering lending standards, focus on why some people have issues with credit scores, managing debt and earning a good income. Raising the minimum wage was not a viable answer either and the effects are starting to become apparent!

The current market, while some may assume it meets the Google definition, has some similarities but a very different “cause” and likely a different outcome. The pandemic suppressed inventory levels. Some sellers did not want buyers coming into their homes. Some were financially affected by the lockdown and could not buy their “next home”. Many buyers were reluctant to visit homes or were also financially impacted. However, many buyers were still looking even though inventory levels were low. The imbalance created a serious sellers’ market resulting in intense competition and huge price surges. That being said, it “appears” that these buyers were financially qualified although I cannot state how valid appraisals are in a market like this as no one has a crystal ball. At some point pricing has to stop rising and perhaps start to decline, doesn’t it?

Assuming (and hoping) that the typical new owner is able to make their monthly payments, I wonder how many will suffer repercussions such as “buyer remorse” if they bought “sight unseen” and/ or without inspections? How will what they paid impact their future decision-making if they think about moving? A major difference between markets is that we are not seeing “short-sales” and “foreclosures” resulting from loose lending standards. While both outcomes will always occur, the current causes have more to do with the overall economy.

There is a lot more to what caused these two similar markets and it remains to be seen what evolves in the next few years. As far as whether the current market is a “bubble” or not depends on how you define the term. To me, there is quite a difference between lowering lending standards so more people can become homeowners and what is happening today when buyers “seem” financially qualified even if paying over asking price and being extremely creative to gain a competitive advantage. Even if sales prices tumble, which they may as some owners enter the picture after the pipeline of buyers has dried up, to me that is more like a “stock market” correction and not a “bubble” based on faulty underpinnings.

Semantics? Perhaps but I have heard too many equating the two markets. While I respect and understand buyers expressing concern about buying Real Estate today, wondering if prices are sustainable, there is never a guarantee that Real Estate prices will appreciate in a straight-line, if at all. Look at the stock market regularly and you will see this in action. There is always risk in ANY “investment” but what are the alternatives? If you are renting, is that a more prudent bet than owning? You will never recover your rent payments and they continue for as long as you rent. If you have delayed your plans to move, what is the cost to your personal happiness and any other factors impacted by your staying put wherever you are?

Buying and selling Real Estate are personal decisions that deserve a lot of consideration. This type of market does not typically offer time to decide. These are emotional decisions justified with logic. Planning and preparation are critical even if the time available is shortened. The time to plan and prepare is not after you find a house you think you like but are stuck watching someone better prepared buy it. Start before looking! Some lessons from the real “bubble” should be helpful.

Contact me in 5 or 10 years and we will have a clearer picture of what happened!

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations!

HIRE WISELY:  We are notall the same”?

April 17, 2022

Bright MLS March 2022 Delaware County PA Residential Housing Report

Showing Time, using Bright MLS statistics, has released their Local Market Insight report for single family homes in Delaware County Pennsylvania through March 2022. If you would like information about this or any other County or any specific municipalities in the Delaware Valley, please contact me or visit my web site, AndrewWetzel.com. I am only a phone call, an email or a text away! I respond promptly to all inquiries.

The overall market continues to be affected by lingering effects of the pandemic which contributed to (if not caused) an inventory shortage. Combined with historically low interest rates and increased post-pandemic interest in home ownership, the historically low inventory levels created a huge surge in pricing which many are confusing with the “bubble” we experienced some 15 years ago. This is different!

Interest rates have risen rather dramatically recently with some increase in inventory but, for the most part, prices and competition remain intense. As always, your experience may differ depending on your location and how you have been personally impacted. As I always say, the decision to buy or sell Real Estate is a personal one and the current environment typifies that as many sellers stay off the market while many buyers do extraordinary things to beat their competition.

The report compares current year-to-date results to one-year ago, same time period. As with all Real Estate statistics, two things are true. First, the performance within individual zip-codes can and will vary significantly from the overall County. Real Estate is local and results can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood and even block to block. There is no such thing as a “national” Real Estate market any more than there is a national weather forecast so, whether you may be thinking about selling or buying, please contact me for details about your areas of interest. I can provide current information and keep you informed about the evolving market. Deciding whether it is the right time to sell or buy is a personal decision typically involving a number of variables. I can provide the knowledge and insight to help you decide what works for you.

My second point is that, unfortunately, all Real Estate statistics involving sold data are stale. This is especially true if you are relying on Internet valuation models which use recorded data rather than up-to-date MLS information. Even then, while a sale may be reported as settled or closed today, the real question is when was the offer presented and negotiated? Typically, financed sales can take 45 to 60 days to close so the market today may be different from when the offer was presented and negotiated. Up-to-date information, even if not perfect, is important!

As far as the statistics, there were 1868 new “for sale” listings through March 2022 compared to 1862 through March 2021, a slight decrease of .7%. There were 1577 closed sales through March 2022 compared to 1498 through March 2021, an increase of 5.3%. The median selling price through March 2022 was $269,000 compared to $245,000 through March 2021, an increase of 9.8%. The flat number of newly listed properties had no effect on the number sold while substantially increasing their selling prices. The number of currently available properties (391) is below one year ago (444). The Days on the Market (DOM) (29 vs 27) and “Sold to List Price” ratio (101.2% vs 99.5%) are improved while the MSI (Months of Supply) is less than 1 month (at .7 months), down 42% from one year ago. The low inventory combined with pent-up demand has created our current market. Again, these numbers vary throughout the County:  the underlying data shows a wide range of results in all categories among the 49 different municipalities in Delaware County. What happens going forward?

Generally speaking, low inventory levels in some areas continue to produce multiple offers and a frenzy among buyers, some of whom may live to regret a hasty decision to get a property under contract. During the shutdown when “in-person” Real Estate activity was not permitted, many buyers started making offers “sight unseen”, some without inspections to improve their odds. Buyers have tried to be very creative to give themselves an advantage. The effects of that remain to be seen, perhaps taking a number of years, but Real Estate, perhaps with the exception of those properties acquired strictly as “investments” with documented income, is generally not something given its expense and complexity that the typical buyer would want to purchase without an in-person showing let alone removing the protection of an inspection contingency. Technology, including photos, virtual tours, 3D tours and other things, however advanced, has its limitations. I think buyers need to walk through a house!

One major difference between the present day and past years in terms of competition and all that results from competition is the presence of investment groups buying large blocks of Real Estate, often with cash and limited contingencies, solely for the purpose of using them as rentals. Unfortunately, many of these purchases include properties that generally appeal to first-time buyers. The competition for them has driven up prices and prevented many new buyers from becoming homeowners. As long as rental income remains strong, these investors will continue to acquire properties. The irony is two-fold. First, rental income remains strong as many are unable to purchase their own homes which creates competition for rentals. Second, the elevated rental pricing is preventing many from saving for the down payment they need to obtain financing. I am not sure there is a way to change this in the short term.

What about the properties that did not sell? Many came off the market and still remain off the market. As the pandemic has evolved, some properties did come back on the market but many have not. Did owners delay, change or give up their plans? Buying activity has been very strong but some sellers are reluctant to allow showings or may have issues they are dealing with, especially if they need to buy their own “next home”. While selling their home may produce a ‘windfall”, what will buying cost? My only concern is whether people are making an informed decision or reacting to what they “think” is happening in the market. As with the market 15 year ago, the sellers who jumped in early may have had the best success if they needed to buy another home. Along the same line, some sellers will wait too long and miss an opportunity to maximize their proceeds.

Buyers and sellers need to do the same planning and preparation that those tasks typically require, regardless of the market. Easier said than done! Anyone looking to sell or buy needs to understand their local market and decide how to react to the pandemic as a “variable” that has evolved over the past two years and, hopefully, will be gone in the near future. However, the effects of buying and selling remain for years. They are important decisions and likely require the knowledge and insight that a professional can provide.

I tell my clients that I cannot guarantee that their house will sell if it is on the market but am fairly certain that it will not if they take it off the market. Anyone trying to sell now may have less competition and more offers to consider. Buyers may have more competition and fewer houses to consider. Hiring an experienced, trained and educated professional is more important than ever.

Despite the pandemic, every house will not sell. Houses may get showings without generating offers unless buyers think they are priced within the range of their perceived “worth”. Most property listings whose contracts are canceled or allowed to expire have asking prices considered high for their market and/ or they were poorly marketed, meaning that some buyers and agents may not have even known that a house was available to look at or purchase. Some buyers may even make “full price” or higher offers just to control the process only to have remorse later as inspection results are revealed. Of course, this may well depend on the ratio of buyer and sellers so there is more to this than raw statistics.

If a market has a lot of inventory, some buyers may not be willing to look at houses priced high compared to the rest of the market:  why try to negotiate a price down when other similar properties are available at more competitive prices? Many sellers open to negotiating their price will never get the chance. I will be happy to discuss specifics with you.

The overall economy, despite some people touting specific statistics, has serious issues that will keep some out of the market. Statistics aside, what are you planning to do? Real Estate is generally a long-term investment unless you are looking to fix and flip it or planning to move within a short period of time. There are opportunities out there. As with the stock market, it is very difficult to pick the best time to make a move. All you can do is get the best available information, determine what is in your best interests and then start the process. I am a phone call or email away and getting started is easy once you take action.

If you want or need to sell any type of Real Estate, now or in the future, whether you tried and did not succeed before or are planning for the first time, it is never too early to start the planning and preparation. Please do not wait for what you think is a better or the best time to start. Buyers look all year long and can only see and buy properties that are available to see. Based on what we experienced in 2021, is waiting something you would consider?

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectations! 

HIRE WISELY:  We are notall the same”!

August 8, 2021

Delaware County PA June 2021 Residential Housing Market Update

Tri-County Suburban REALTORS and Showing Time have released their June 2021 Local Market Insight report for single family homes in Delaware County Pennsylvania.  The report uses Bright MLS statistics.  If you would like more information about this or any other County or any specific municipalities in the Delaware Valley, please contact me or visit my web site, AndrewWetzel.com.  I am only a phone call, an email or a text away!  I respond promptly to all inquiries.

The Real Estate market continues to recover from the pandemic shutdown and resulting economic impact.  As always, your experience may differ depending on your location and how you have been personally affected.  As I always say, the decision whether or when to sell or buy Real Estate is a personal one influenced by a number of lifestyle factors and external variables.  The past year or so typifies that.  Some have not been deterred causing a frenzied sellers’ market while others have decided to delay their plans to sell or buy.

The report compares current month and year-to-date results to one-year ago.  We are past the halfway point but the statistics continue to include pre- and post-pandemic time frames so it is not a true “apples-to-apples” comparison.  As with all Real Estate statistics, two things are true.  First, the performance within individual zip-codes can and will vary significantly from the overall County.  Real Estate is local and results can vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood and even block to block.  There is no such thing as a “national” Real Estate market any more than there is a national weather forecast so, if you are thinking about selling or buying, please contact me for details about your areas of interest.  I can provide current information and keep you informed about the evolving market as well as provide you with the knowledge and insight to help you decide what works best for you.

My second point is that, unfortunately, all Real Estate statistics involving sold data are stale.  This is especially true if you are relying on Internet valuation models which use recorded data rather than up-to-date Bright MLS information.  Even then, while a sale may be reported as having settled or closed recently, the real question is when was the offer negotiated?  Typically, sales can take 45 to 60 days to close so the market today may be different from when the offer was presented and negotiated.  This is especially true as market conditions change.  Up-to-date information, even if not perfect, is important!

As far as the statistics, please remember that these numbers include a variety of single-family homes throughout the County.  There were 1003 new listings in June 2021 compared to 880 in June 2020, an increase of 14%.  YTD 2021 shows 4802 new listings compared to 3800 in 2020, an increase of 26.4%.  The 5-year June average is 906 new listings.  There were 665 active listings in June 2021 compared to 875 in June 2020 with a 5-year average of 1477.  Inventory levels continue to rise but the “Months of Supply” is below one month at .7 which is down 70% compared to last year.  There were 908 closed sales in June 2021 compared to 408 in June 2020, an increase of 122.5%.  YTD 2021 shows 3699 closed sales compared to 2555 in 2020, an increase of 44.8%.  The 5-year June average is 756.  The median sold price was $290,000 in June 2021 compared to $259,500 in June 2020, an increase of 11.8%.  YTD 2021 shows a median sold price of $265,000 compared to $235,000 in 2020, an increase of 12.8%.  The 5-year June average is $256,250.

Here are two other interesting June 2021 vs June 2020 statistics:  (1) the Sold vs. List Price Ratio was 102.4% compared to 97.1%; (2) the average Days on the Market was 13 compared to 38.  As usual, properly priced houses are selling fast and achieve more than their asking price.

How you interpret all of this information and data is subjective, meaning you can draw a variety of conclusions and then make decisions based on what you think.  Does it make you any more or any less likely to want to sell or buy?  If you are thinking about selling, know that history suggests that markets change suddenly.  Some will try to “time the market” and get as much as they can.  Many owners still regret not selling during the last seller’s market.  Some waited too long and prices fell or they wanted too much for their house.  If you are thinking about buying, do you worry about prices continuing to rise, do you worry about overpaying or are you waiting for prices to drop?  How many wish they had bought months ago?  If you need or want to sell one house to buy another, this can get even more complicated as you try to coordinate two processes.

All of this underscores the need to work with a professional.  The internet and advice you get from family, friends and the media is likely very general and subjective.  In my opinion, much of the well-reported “frenzy” created erratic behavior.  Assuming buyers did what they thought or were told they needed to do to “win”, even without really knowing if others were bidding on the same house, do they or will they regret their decisions?  Many agents will tell you that they are shocked by buying “sight unseen”, waiving inspections and going well over asking price.  I have no doubt that we will be talking about this time period for years to come.  I hope that it all works out as the market stabilizes and then shifts into a buyer’s market.  Only time will tell.

What about the properties that did not sellMany came off the market and remain unavailable.  Did owners delay, change or give up their plans?  While buying activity has generally been strong, some sellers are reluctant to allow showings or may have issues holding them back.  Given the statistics, are people making an informed decision or reacting to what they “think” is happening in their local market?  A brief conversation may be very helpful if you have any questions about selling or buying.

Anyone thinking about selling or buying needs to understand their local market and decide how to react to it.  The effects of buying and selling remain for years as does inaction.  These are important decisions and likely require the knowledge and insight that an experienced, trained and educated professional can provide.

I tell my clients that I cannot guarantee that their house will sell if it is on the market but am fairly certain that it won’t if they keep it off the market.  Anyone trying to sell now may have less competition and more offers to consider.  Buyers may have more competition and fewer houses to consider.  Hiring an experienced, trained and educated professional is more important than ever.

No matter how good the market may appear, every house will not sell.  Houses may get showings without generating offers unless buyers think they are priced within the range of their perceived “worth”, whatever that means today.  Most property listings whose contracts are canceled or allowed to expire have asking prices considered high for their local market and/ or they were poorly marketed, meaning that some buyers and agents may not have even known that a property was available to look at or purchase.  Some buyers may make an attractive offer just to control the process only to have remorse later as inspection results are revealed or they see another property they prefer more.

Some buyers may not be willing to look at houses priced high compared to the rest of the market:  why try to negotiate a price down when other similar properties are available at more competitive prices or others offer more for the same price?  Many sellers open to negotiating their price will never get the chance.  I will be happy to discuss specifics with you.

Statistics aside, what are you planning to do?  Real Estate is generally a long-term investment.  There are always opportunities out there.  As with the stock market, it is very difficult if not impossible to pick the best time to make a move.  All you can do is get the best available information, determine what is in your best interests and then start the process.  Getting started is easy once you take action.

If you want or need to sell any type of Real Estate, now or in the future, whether you tried and did not succeed before or are planning for the first time, it is never too early to start the planning and preparation.  Please do not wait for what you think is a better or the best time to start.  If you need to sell in order to buy, let’s have that conversation.  Now may be the best time to start planning.

There is no time for inexperience, empty promises or false expectation!

HIRE WISELY: We are not “all the same”!

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