This week our listings saw an average of 2.1 showings each which is about the same as last week. In last week’s update, I reported that the activity in my office had picked up and the local Charlotte Realtors with whom I associate were saying the same thing. Well, this week I attended a real estate conference with over 1400 agents from across the country. The news that I heard from agents in other markets was very promising. I had conversastions with several agents specifically from Florida, Northern Virginia, and New England and each reported that their activity has picked up so far in 2008.
Here’s the catch: If agents are beginning to find new buyer clients right now, that doesn’t meet that the numbers are going to show a market increase immediately. Keep in mind that when we meet a new buyer client for the first time, we first have to get to know the individual. Then we start the process of identifying possible listings and making appointments to show them. Most buyers are going to look at 10-15 listings before they are ready to make an offer. This process can take 30-60 days depending on the buyer’s urgency. What this means to me is that we are going to see an increase in contracts over the next 30-60 days, but the media won’t catch wind of this until these contracts close. That might not be until the middle of the second quarter or later.
The so-called ‘experts’ in the media are predicting that the housing market will begin to return to normal during the middle or latter part of 2008. If their predictions are based on the data, then my analysis should make sense. So the moral of the story for sellers, hang in there. We should start to see things pick up before the media tells us so. Does that surprise anyone?