Friday, July 26, 2013

Middle School Dance

In recent weeks, I have had several clients wondering if the rise in interest rates has had an impact on the robust Real Estate market of the last few months.  Are we in a slow down?  Is this the "Dog Days of Summer"?

The interest rate increase has done a few things to the marketplace.  First it has spurred on sellers who were on the fence about selling.  Inventory is up slightly on the near west side of Madison.

But it's done something else, too.  It has slowed the number of buyers searching.  There are fewer buyers looking at houses and they are being a little more particular than they were in March and April.

What's happening is sort of like the first middle school dance you attended.  Remember how the boys and girls would gather on opposite sides of the gym, with few venturing to the dance floor?  They were all waiting, to see what the "other side" did.  Those middle-schoolers would take an extra trip to the punch bowl, to survey the surroundings.  In the end though, the dance floor is full of happy people.

The same is true in the housing market.  The gym walls are lined with buyers and sellers, a little shy about the first step toward the other.  The rise in interest rates has made the move to the "dance floor" a little more tentative.

But interest rates are still at incredible levels.  And the dancers will meet in the middle.  It just may take a few more trips to the punch bowl to assess the situation.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Is it Still a Good Time to Buy a House?

With mortgage rates up nearly a full percent in the last  several weeks, buyers are beginning to ask, "Did I miss the market?" and "Should I wait until rates come back down?" The answers are no and no.

To check this theory, look in a mirror and say loudly, "I think an interest rate of 4.5% is too high!" When you get done laughing, remember that interest rates have been as high as 17%!  Interest rates may have risen, but they continue to be very affordable.

As far as the other question goes...waiting until rates come back down to 3.5%....well....the last time that happened was on historical data, as long as you are content with the idea of paying rent for another 42 years or all means wait it out. However, if the idea of paying off someone else's 30 year mortgage entirely, and then possibly waiting another 12 years doesn't appeal to you, then it is absolutely a good time to buy a house.

Friday, July 12, 2013

That "Mayberry" Feeling

You've heard the old saying about Real Estate; location, location, location.  In reality, the three criteria that sell Real Estate are location, condition and price.  You noticed that location is still listed first!

Buyers are willing, in many cases, to discount condition -  and within reason - price, to purchase a home in the right location.  So what makes a location popular?  Of course there are the tried and true criteria such as schools, plus proximity to conveniences such as parks, bus lines, bike trails, grocery stores, coffee shops and restaurants.

But there is also the nebulous parameters that are hard to measure.  The "feeling" of a neighborhood.  Is it friendly?  Are neighbors out walking dogs and strolling children?  Do neighbors watch out for each other?  Does the neighborhood have that "Mayberry" feeling?

I just listed a house is a neighborhood that is all "Mayberry" and more.  It's tucked away on a quiet court that few in Madison are aware of.  It surrounds one of Madison's "pocket parks" that is a gathering space for residents.  It's a neighborhood where kids bring you homemade cupcakes to let you know they think you are "sweet" and impromptu summer kickball games are commonplace.  It's a special place.

So while condition and price may dictate the sale of some properties, this little house will be sold on location.