In the softening fog of our Mid Summer’s Dream we’re running around like chickens. We don’t know where we’re headed but we’re staying busy, hurrying up and waiting. Waiting for Good Dough to arrive. All addressed up with nowhere to go. We’ve made our lists and checked them twice. At what point do we just Puck the whole thing, a la Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and observe with self-induced irony: “What fools we mortals be”?
What’s next? If more market doesn’t show up soon we’re likely to find ourselves moving in even slower motion, in the middle of the Doggier Days of August. And if that happens, we’ll probably end up migrating towards the fall, tails between our legs, feeling both snake-bit and flea-bit – by the sheer indignity of it all.
Who knows? Suffice to say, all those cars backed-up, bumper-to-bumper towards Scotts Valley, aren’t waves of weekend buyers streaming into town to search for perfect little beach-blanket bungalows. Most of them are coming to ride the roller coaster. The real one at the Boardwalk – not the real estate one on the Monopoly Board that has gone south for the summer.
Yes, it is true that more homes sell in the summertime. And this summer probably won’t be an exception. But conventional wisdom obscures another unconventional truth residing in darker shadows cast by the sun. That truth is: There are always more homes that don’t sell in the summertime too. Think about it. If 20 more homes go into escrow this month, does that balance out the 120 new ones that come on and jump on top of the mounting pile of un-sold properties sitting idly by, twiddling their thumbs and thumbing their noses at their Sellers’ best laid plans and aspirations.
Looking back over the ups and downs of these past months…March came in looking like it might be a lion. A glimmer was there that was hard to grab hold of – but it felt good. Hope was ready to spring eternal. We set our internal clocks ahead towards a brighter future. It wasn’t exactly multiple-offer mania fueled by steroids and liars’ loans, but it seemed like enough buyers were chugging enough extra cups of caffeine to register a more detectable pulse on the market’s shaky Richter scale.
But not enough fools were rushing into the market by the first of April . Too many were holding back. Fearing to tread. They were taxed. Not by the IRS. Rather, by their own what-ifs and worst-case scenarios. And sure enough towards the end of April the market was already going out like a lamb. Exit stage left.
In May, we all crossed our fingers and shouted MAYBE! As de facto Tauruses, we were bullish. The market would grab itself by the horns, carpe the dinero and find a way to get much better, much faster. We trotted out stats to prove how much better-er it was all getting. Of course, most of the sold data we materialized was already old news – trailing indicators from transactions that had started in and around, oh, say March or so.
Then there was June. About all that rhymes with June as far as the real estate market is concerned is SWOON. We may have been polishing those shiny new listings with hype and filling our open house balloons with helium but the majority of those million dollar listings are glistening like jewels of denial right now and the air is slowly going out of the inflated list prices those balloons can’t seem to hold up.
As for July – I’m just going to ask WHY. Why aren’t buyers beating down doors to get at the huge window of opportunity that has opened, with interest rates about as low as they can go, here in limbo land? This is everyone’s chance to dance. Get in and get under the bar set by their fears. Three or four months ago, there wasn’t a mortgage broker alive who thought we’d see rates under 5% again.
So maybe we’ll be singing the Summertime Blues for awhile. I hope I’m wrong and that all the smiley-faced spinmeisters are right. As the new real estate blues song says: “If it wasn’t for short sales, we wouldn’t have no sales at all.” Just our luck – a market defined by a double oxymoron. Short sales aren’t short. And so far, very few have actually sold. They are simply homes stuck in the pipeline with no sunlight shining at the end of the tunnel.