I don't have a crystal ball, but I've been keeping a running mental list of signs the market might be picking up.
I've got real buyers calling me suddenly. I could have moved to Phuket, Thailand from March to November 2007 and nobody would have missed me. But since mid-November I've got serious buyers calling. They want to buy a house in the next 1 to 3 months, have savings in the bank and a good credit score. Not every one pans out, of course. But having serious buyers call is a huge improvement over most of 2007, when buyers constantly whined, "I want to wait and see if prices are going to drop some more." I actually stopped holding open houses for a while so I didn't have to worry about going postal on the next person who whined that phrase at me.
Sellers have stopped fighting me on pricing. Not every one mind you, but by and large my seller clients are listening right from the start when I tell them, "No, drop $30,000 off that price and we need to spend $2,000 on staging before we list it."
Homes Are Selling. I've almost sold all my listing inventory. Granted, I don't quite run with the big dogs yet, but I had a healthy inventory of listings for a 3rd year agent. Most have sold and the few that remain show signs of going soon. Also, one of my buyer clients sent me a list on Thursday 12/13 of 7 homes she wanted to see. We went out on Sunday 12/17 and 3 of them went under contract since Thursday. That hasn't happened to me in about a year and a half.
Numbers moving incrementally in the right direction. Number of homes for sale and number of houses actually sold are moving incrementally in the right direction. Inventory is slightly down and sales are slightly up. We've got a long way to go, but it's good to see some progress being made toward a more 'normal' market.
Appraiser activity is up. Heard Jay Delich speak today. He's a local appraiser who's got 36 years in the business. He says his phones have been ringing off the hook for the past 3 weeks. Some of that work is for refi's and relocations, but he made a special point of telling a roomful of 150+ Coldwell Banker agents that he's busier than he expected to be.
Is this a trend or a fluke? Sadly, the only way to know is to see the December and January 2008 month-end stats. But I'm hopeful. 'Cause even though Thailand is really pretty and really cheap to live in, I really don't want to move there. I'd rather stay here and sell houses.
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