Buyers and sellers should hold on for dear life.
If you’ve been house shopping in town, or trying to sell your current home to upgrade or downsize, there’s a good chance the next few paragraphs will be preaching to the choir. It’s a real estate roller coaster out there, folks.
Statistics released earlier this week by the Morgantown Area Partnership show that more single family homes sold in the first quarter of 2021 than in the same period last year—and they sold faster, and at an average of $23,000 more per sale. And that’s not even talking about townhome sales, which are on fire. Sellers all over town are cashing in, and buyers are trying to woo them with cash offers, offers over the asking price, and even promises to skip things like the home inspection. Real estate investors are also gobbling up well-priced properties, adding to their rental inventory and greatly impacting what’s available on the market.
The same trend is happening across the country. “Our market is going through a surge fueled by the Feds lowering interest rates dramatically,” says Melissa Hornbeck, broker at White Diamond Realty. “This has opened up the possibility of home ownership to a lot more people and spurred a lot of people who’ve maybe long been considering upgrading or downsizing their living space.” Add to that a nationwide migration of remote workers no longer tied to city centers and historically low inventory in town, and you’ve got yourself a perfect storm.
Usually the Morgantown real estate market supports four to five months’ worth of inventory at any given time, Hornbeck explains. It currently has two months, and that’s blowing her mind, she says. She also surmises that historically low interest rates will be around for a while, suggesting that buyers have an opportunity to catch their breath and take their time.
In light of this perfect storm swirling, Hornbeck offers her seasoned advice to both buyers and sellers.
For sellers: Plan, plan, plan, and work very closely with your agent. It’s easy to get a house under contract right now, but not necessarily easy to get to the closing table. And once you sell, you need a solid plan for where you’re going to go.
For buyers: Be pre-approved and emotionally prepared to put offers on several houses and have them declined. And if you don’t have to buy right now, don’t. Wait four or five months and let this all settle down.