Market Winds Shifting?

WeathervaneI’ve been saying it all along.  Unless/until something more important rises up on its own, begging to be talked about,  insisting on being the center of attention,  I’m just going to keep plowing all the fertile ground surrounding the subject of Multiple Offers.

Writing about them ad infinitum ad nauseum.   Multiple Offers will never lack for substance and intriguing storylines.  There are so many dimensions of human thought and emotion wrapped into their complexity. Big things. Little things.  Glaringly obvious things. Subtle and infinitely nuanced things.

How to think about them? How to prepare for them? How to position yourself in the middle of them? How to design a strategy that ups your chances of coming out on top in the dog-eat-dog crazy-ass world of them?

For the last two and a half months – March, April and part of May –  there just hasn’t been any other topic du jour or cause celeb that’s come close to joining the conversation.  Multiple Offers have cast a giant shadow across the consciousness of our collective real estate of mind.

But here’s a head’s up.  I’m starting to get a feeling.  A slight inner twitch. There’s a  little voice whispering somewhere way back in the inner recesseses of my bloggin’ noggin.  Is it just an echo in the cavern sounding on deaf ears like a tree falling in an unvisited forest?  Or is it time to take note and start talking  about something else?

Maybe we are  there. Not sure.  The jury is still out.   By the time we really know whether it is anything to concern ourselves with, it will have already happened.  Or not.  In real estate it’s hindsight that’s 20-20.  Not foresight.

Real estate is a phenomenon that is always being carried forward on the bubble of perception that both precedes and follows it.  And it almost always gives us numbers to work with that are trailing in it’s wake  – woefully behind the curve that inevitably keeps disappearing on the horizon in our rear view mirrors.

Let’s just remind ourselves shall we?  When those numbers come out in mid June –  they’ll be talking about sales that closed in the month of May.  How many.  What the median price was. Average price. How all of the compilations compare to the same month last year. Or the previous month this year.

But those closed sales aren’t going to give us an accurate snapshot of what the market is  doing in June – at that exact moment in time we are reading those headlines. They’ll be looking at what closed in May.  And what closed in May tells us about what buyers and sellers were agreeing to 30 to 45 to 60 days before that.  What deals were being negotiated in March or April. Not in the distant future of June.

The market changes daily. It’s dynamic and it never stays the same. Is it going up? Down? At what speed?  In what price ranges?  Are some properties moving in a way others aren’t?

Consider this a cautionary column.  A whiff. A taste A mere hint of a suggestion of a possibility that there might be more than meets the eye going on out there in real estate land.  Winds shifting. Maybe not everything is what it seems. Or how it is portrayed in those monthly bold banner bullish articles about real estate.

Median Price in Santa Cruz County in the mid $600s?   Yep.  True.   Is it that really that simple?   Does it mean that prices and sales will just keep getting bigger and better with each passing month? Every day in every way?

Are prices rising across the board in every price range on every kind of property?  Are there lots more sales?

Well no. Now that you mention it.  There aren’t.   The market is kicking butt in certain segments – but it’s a very selective butt-kicking that is taking place.   Got a cute little 3br/2ba single level house in a decent neighborhood for $625,000?  Let the butt-kicking commence!!!   A townhome for $350,000?  Yep – major butt-kicking action ahead.

But what happens when we start to stretch those price points a little further?  Got something for $1.2? Or $1.7? Or a beach house for $3 million?   Got a condo closer to  $500k than $400k? A different story begins to emerge.

Call it a refraction of the marketplace.   A compression zone with a  glass ceiling hovering above it.  Next week – let’s see if we can analyze what’s going on in some of those market segments where butt-kicking isn’t the norm.

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