Dialing it Down

DialingDownHere we are. Heading down the home stretch for 2014.

True. The day-to-day market seems like it has decided to dial itself back a few notches. Level itself out for a softer landing. The pace has slowed. There’s less tangible activity. And there’s nowhere near the same kind of ambient intensity that we thought we had become accustomed to as “the new normal”, just a few months back.

The overwhelming sense of urgency that dominated so much of 2014, has suddenly made itself scare. Hell, we aren’t even hearing about all those crazy first day/all cash/multiple offer/million dollar overbids in Palo Alto right now.

So… it’s an interesting time.

Whenever there’s a bit of a downshift like this, specially when it comes in and around the November and December holidays, there’s a huge temptation to sit back and put our expectations on autopilot.

Figuring that it must be time to drop back twenty yards and punt real estate into next year. Acquiesce and accept the notion that nothing hugely relevant is going to happen between now and whenever it is that the frenzy starts up again next spring.

But it’s not that easy to do this year.

There’s still plenty of momentum buzzing around from those early spring and late summer surges we had. When agents, buyers and sellers were all running around with their hair on fire. It’s hard to know what to do with all the extra adrenalin when multiple offers aren’t flying left and right.

When the market’s that en fuego response times are accelerated. Negotiations are quick. Escrows are short. Days on market fly by. Listings come and go in the blink of an eye. Life decisions are made innanoseconds. And money talks because it’s so good at squeezing all the timelines.

It’s always now or never. Or worse yet, it all has to arrive absolutely, positively yesterday.

So maybe it’s a good thing the market is giving itself (and us) a break. Let’s spend a few columns reflecting on what we know now that we couldn’t have known when we started out this year. Let’s also begin to formulate our educated guesses for the coming year.

We’ll track the trends. Point to the patterns. And once again try to hack the meaning of the marketplace in search of a real estate version of the “Theory of Everything.” One that explains why we can’t always explain why the market does what it does.

Stay tuned.

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