The Shadow-ier Shadow Inventory

shadowShapesContinuing our head scratching session from last week…(go to to pick up the thread) 
We were musing, albeit a little plaintively, about theconspicuous lack of listings on the market.  Real estates’   trending topic and dominant issue du jour.  The Big I.  As in INVENTORY.  Or the lack thereof. 
There isn’t anyone trying to buy a home in SC County right now, under a million bucks, who isn’t painfully aware of the challenge that ultra-low inventory represents. 
There’s not a single local Agent trying to help someone buy a home that’s not frustrated by the increasingly narrow bandwidth of choice –  tightly compressed between the vastly unappealing, conspicuously flawed, woefully overpriced and the eminently desirable, competitively priced, multiple-offer worthy.  
It’s famine or frenzy time.  Either Agents are showing properties to their clients, with some degree of trepidation, because they aren’t really worth showing.  Or…they are scrambling like chickens with their heads cut off to help them compete with five other offers on some rate little needle-in-a-haystack exception that finally showed up on the market.
Can’t we just get a big handful of listings coming on,  that are pretty good homes with reasonable amenities in decent locations –  that don’t fly off the market in a week with a barrage of offers?  They don’t have to be perfect. Just above average.
Can’t we trade in some of the dogs – those built on 50 degree slopes next to the freeway with significant structural issues or failed septic systems – for just a few more of the modestly appealing kind? 
Inquiring Buyers want to know.
What a weird turnaround we’ve experienced in recent years.  Back in 2010,  30-40% of the inventory and sales fell into the distress category. Short sales and Bank REOs. 
On top of that, there was an underlying belief that a huge unseen cache of additional foreclosures,  known as the “Shadow Inventory”  was sitting out there. Held in the secret toxic asset vaults of  evil banks.   A giant supply of homes waiting to be released into the market and flood it with fresh meat.
These days, distress sales have dwindled to a tiny fraction of the inventory. Conversely,  all-cash purchases have risen precipitously and now constitute 30-40% of the non-distress sales.  We don’t hear anyone whispering about the Shadow Inventory anymore.  If it ever existed, it has disappeared through some nefarious unseen slight of hand. 
These days there’s a new shadow-ier Shadow Inventory that has risen to take the place of the old one.  It’s the inventory of nascent buyers out there… milling around on the sidelines.   Not by choice but by the sheer lack of places to purchase.  Stressed buyers rather than distressed properties.
The queue in the Shadow-ier Inventory is getting longer.  Off the top of my head, I can count at least six different sets of my own clients who are looking diligently. And have been for some time.  Six sets of major life transitions on hold for the time being.
They are ready, willing and able to buy. Just about every single Agent in SC County has their own clientele of qualified buyers that fits the same description. 
Have a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1700 sq ft home on a decent street, that’s not a total fixer, has a few upgrades and amenities,  priced between $600-$800k? Bring it on Sellers. 
You’ll be swamped at your first open house. You don’t have to wait.  All those apocryphal notions and suburban myths about Thanksgiving and Christmas always being bad times to sell are silly. 
List it and they will come.  Now. 
To be continued.


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