Have Belmont home values we peaked for the year?
Our spring housing market always makes for exciting times—it sort of sets the pace for the year.
Typically we see prices jump the most in the spring and level off around summer. Despite the rumblings that our market is cooling off, this year appears to be no different than we’ve experienced in past trends. Any perceived “cooling off” is expressed in the rate of increases waning, and compounded by seasonal fluctuations.
In the graph below we plotted the percent a seller received of their initial asking price since 2012 when the market rebound began in earnest. This is a good indicator of the level of competition in the market. Notice how our local market competition increases most in the spring and price increases follow suit. Why is that? We have a few intrinsic theories and if you’d like the inside scoop here are our musings.
First there’s the school enrollment calendar. In Belmont that opens in February and ends in June. Of course getting your child into your preferred school means hitting the initial enrollment period—or at least the second one. We believe the school enrollment calendar tends to influence a buyers decision to act quickly in the spring market. HINT: You cannot enroll your child in the Belmont/Redwood Shores School District without proof of residency.
Another influencing factors is that the weather improves in the spring. Buyers and sellers come out of winter hibernation and the better the weather the sooner they do so. And more buyers means more competition while inventory remains low until school ends in June. Over 65% of all new listings are listed in quarters 2&3—April through September.
Let’s face it, not only are home buyers competing for great jobs they compete at the home buying game as well—and they hate to lose.
Indulge us for a moment—Imagine there are six horses racing that are competing for first place in a race. But after each race the 1st place winner must retire. This leaves the second place horse the favorite in the next race, and all things being equal he now takes 1st place and then also retires—but the finish times are getting slower. Now the 3rd place horse in the first race, is the 1st place horse in the third race but he’s clearly not as fast as the first horse was in the first race—but he still wins—and retires.
You see the home buying and bidding process follows a lot along these lines. The most aggressive bidders typically wins and get their home—now they’re out of the competition. The buyer who came in second now steps to the plate and secures the next home—and he probably bids even more than he bid the last time when he lost. This pushes the prices up and eliminates the aggressive bidders. By summer the remaining bidders are typically far less aggressive and more risk adverse so they bid less and homes close for a smaller amount over the seller’s asking price.
But that begs the question, “Why not just wait until after the bidding wars wane to put in an offer?”
Because prices are going up about $500 q day and the longer one waits the more that same house will cost. Note that as seen in the above graph, the percent a seller receives is greater in the spring while the median home price does not follow any similar plot—except up.
We’ve seen this year in and year out and yet each year we hear people deliberating on the perceived slowdown as a shift in the market, rather than a well-defined pattern repeating itself.
Click here to see our analysis for May of 2014 where we compare it to April’s numbers and every May going back to 2012 when the market took a marked uptick—is the housing market slowing down? See for yourself…
Drew & Christine Morgan are REALTORS/NOTARY PUBLIC in Belmont, CA. with more than 20 years experience in helping sellers and buyers in their community. They may be reached at (650) 508.1441 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information contained in this article is educational and intended for informational purposes only. It does not constitute real estate, tax or legal advice, nor does it substitute for advice specific to your situation. Always consult an appropriate professional familiar with your scenario.