Hot Market Sees Some Cooling As Inventory Increases

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In over 35 years of experience in real estate, Robin Kemmerer cannot remember a market like this.

“Customers are playing poker,” she said. They don’t know what’s in the other offers that sellers get, so “you have a chance to do your best. This is a very difficult time for buyers. “

For sellers Steve and Rachel McCaughey from Middletown, the auction that took place on their Levittown home, which is listed with Kemmerer, brought them an offer of $ 25,000 above the asking price – it was up for sale on its first weekend.

This was good news for McCogee, who has three young sons. But they themselves have not yet started looking for a new home. They will move in with his parents as soon as they move to the village, and then start looking for another house.

“Hopefully it won’t be long,” he said of his family of five living with his parents. He teaches at Neshamini High School and his wife teaches at Charles Bem High School in the Pennsbury School District.

Rachel McCaughey had been reviewing homes for a year, but the couple knew they would be stronger bidders if their current home was already sold.

“We have no money to pay until our house is sold. There’s no point in trying to do both at the same time, ”Steve observed, knowing that in the fast, repetitive bidding and strong first offers that would secure a home in the hot Bucks County real estate market so that no one wants to wait for the contingency clause that requires the buyer to inspect their home first.

“We want to take our time and make sure that’s all we want to bring up our boys,” Rachel said of their search for a new home.

But while the number of homes for sale is still small, realtors say it has increased since last spring, when demand for a few homes in the market significantly raised bids for buyers at auction.

According to Long and favorable market minute reports.

As prices rise, more homeowners are putting their homes up for sale in the spring to take advantage of these seller-friendly times. This, in turn, gave shoppers more choices.

But the July market was slightly slower than the June market, according to report Prepared for the Bucks County Realtors Association by the Bright Multiple Listing Service. Now realtors notice that some houses are not sold as quickly as in the spring.

More: Bucks Realtors to Provide $ 1,000 to Homeowners or Renters Affected by the July 12 Flood

“We are starting to see days when the market is going up. Six months ago I had a listing for a house and it had 17 offers. You don’t see this volume of home offers right now, ”said Dennis Lawrence, broker and appraiser for Narrow Gate in Dublin.

“We’re still seeing $ 350,000 homes sold quickly, but we’re not seeing that many offers,” said Joy Zwicker, junior broker and manager of Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach’s Southampton office. Sales in July were lower than in June. She expects the same in August, because now people are on vacation.

As McCaughey found, it helps to sell a home quickly when buyers have sold their previous home and sellers know where they are moving, even if it lives with relatives. If a seller stipulates that the sale is dependent on finding a place to live, Zwicker said it could scare off some buyers.

Since this was the market for such sellers this spring, some sellers think they can list their home for sale without preparing it for sale. “No, no,” several agents said.

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“If you are planning to sell, please consult with a realtor who will advise you,” said Dana Gray, BCAR President and Realtor at Exceed Realty in Southampton. “A clean home and a clean home are still very important.”

The McCaughey family took the advice and took advantage of the storage room to showcase a more open view of their Middletown anniversary-style home for demonstrations. “There are so many things with three young children,” said Steve McKahie, noting that the vault will also come in handy as the family moves from home to family into their future new home.

Colleen Evanchik, a Re / Max Royale broker in Washington Crossing, said, “The easiest and best way is to paint and not clutter up,” to help sell the house.

Gray added that there weren’t many buyers in the last month. She thinks a little “buyer fatigue” may be occurring as people applied for homes that were not accepted. Gray said some are leaving the market for a while to see if he returns to a more normal situation where buyers don’t have to raise prices to win a home they like.

“They’re a little more picky,” she said.

Evanchik and Zwicker agreed.

Evanchik said one buyer was disappointed after two bids were turned down, although she is still looking, and Zwicker said she asked the buyer to cancel her bid, which was 20% higher than the asking price, with a huge down payment when the seller refused. ” I didn’t give them an acceptance response, saying that they would like to wait for new deals. Its customers considered it unfair and did not want to play the game.

As office manager Zwicker said, brokers need to be cheerleaders in these times to help new real estate agents understand that the challenges now facing buyers who may not get the home they want won’t last long. Sooner or later, the market will become fairer for both buyers and sellers.

The problem of reducing the number of houses for sale was also affected by the decline in construction during the pandemic.

According to the Bucks County Planning Commission, “2020 had the lowest number of single-family homes on offer since 1970 and, if we exclude offered apartment buildings, the lowest number of homes on offer since 1950. continues to lead in the area of ​​housing construction in the district. “

Real estate agents say they have no clear idea of ​​how the market will go this fall and winter.

COVID precautions are still used by agents when a potential buyer walks through a seller’s home. But they believe that agents who are always on top and give good advice to their clients, whether buyers or sellers, will play a winning hand.

Pam Croke, BCAR’s chief executive, said the number of realtors in Bucks actually grew during the pandemic, and the county now hosts over 4,000 agents, up about 5% from 2019. “We believe this increase may be due to people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and are looking for something new.”

Kemmerer, who started her real estate career at 18, right out of school, is still pursuing her profession. “I really love my job,” she said.

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