It's a rite of spring: waiting for new inventory to hit the market. But this year feels like none in my memory as a real estate agent, which stretches ten years. My list of buyers (almost exclusively second home buyers) is extensive, with a lot of overlap, while the supply of quality, second home inventory is woefully thin. Other agents are in the same position. This means that the most responsive and prepared buyers will walk away with the most desirable properties.
Buyers vying for similar properties can create competitive bidding environments, and can mean that sale prices exceed bank appraisals, requiring buyers to put more cash down. So cash is king at the moment. In order to be nimble, it's wise to get bank pre-approval before even viewing property, so that if you find that dream spot, you can act quickly and show credit-worthiness to sellers who may have competing offers.
Anecdotally, we recently had a bidding war between two buyers who had each been looking for a property for about a year. They had explored areas that even extended over to Dutchess County, but when they each fell in love with the same property, they were determined to secure it. Both were cash buyers. The final price exceeded the ask, but I'm glad to report that the unsuccessful bidder snapped up a listing that had been on the market for just a couple weeks, and is delighted with his imminent purchase.
A couple years ago the market for properties in the $200-350,000 really took off, while the higher-end lagged. We found that at the end of last summer, into the fall, and even through this past winter, that the boom has extended into the $500,000s. But the market is picky. There is not a lot of tolerance for renovating, which narrows the field of relevant listings further. Charm or country chic updates, light, quality and privacy are top line criteria, and the market is prepared to pay for those.
And what Economics 101 tells us, is that when demand exceeds supply, prices go up. After years of wondering when that will happen, I don't see any way that won't be this year.