This past week our listings saw an average of 3.1 showings each. The holidays were slow for showing traffic, but this past weekend (the first of 2009) saw an almost threefold increase in showings. I’m not surprised since there weren’t many lookers during the holidays.
However, the increase has gotten me thinking about the existence of ‘pent up demand’. I found the following definition for the term at thebusinessofamericaisbusiness.biz:
“When demand for a product is exceptionally strong, perhaps because the demand built up during a recession when people could not afford to buy the product or because the product was temporarily not available to be sold.”
So does pent up demand exist yet here in our Charlotte real estate market. That remains to be seen as the numbers continued to get worse throughout 2008. But at some point, the gates must open and the buyers will be ready to get back into the game.
Consider that in 2008, Mecklenburg County saw 10,181 home sales. Compare that to 15,334 in 2007 and 17,208 in 2006. Were 2007 and 2008 really good years or was 2008 just really bad? Or maybe it was a little bit of both. And what about the outlook for 2009?
Surely the drop in sales by 35% two years in a row is partly due to buyers on the fence that just couldn’t quite pull the triggers. So how long will those buyers wait before they feel its time to get back in the water?
The fall season gives lots of opportunity for excuses. The holidays are a perfect time to procrastinate a home purchase. But now its January; the start of a new year. New Years resolutions are in place and everyone is ready for a year of recovery.
So will pent up demand be released this year? I think that these first few weeks and months of 2009 will begin to tell the story. This week marks the first week back to work and normal life for most of us. I’m hopeful that a return to normal life means that buyers start buying again! I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out. Stay tuned.