The summer of 2010 will be remembered by folks in the real estate business as a long vacation from serious, qualified buyers. Since the tax-credit deadline of April 30th, the number of active buyers in my market, Philadelphia, has been very slim, and I've heard similar stories from people in other parts of the country. This has been great for the few serious buyers who were looking this summer - they were able to negotiate great deals in a once-in-a-lifetime buyers' market. On the other hand, sellers have been having a very tough go of it the last few months with even the nicest properties sitting on the market for months without solid offers. It might be a little soon to say that things are turning around, but two pieces of anecdotal evidence give me some hope that serious buyers are coming back to the market as summer turns to fall:
1. I've been getting more calls the last couple weeks from first-time buyers ready to start looking with hopes of finding a place and moving in before the end of the year. While I still haven't seen a bump in 'move-up' buyers, if more first-timers start to buy up currently listed properties, that will have a domino effect allowing the sellers of those properties to become move-up buyers of higher-end houses.
2. The hits on my online listings have jumped up in the past week. This could be a random anomaly, but I'd rather see more people looking at online real estate listings than fewer, so it's something I'll be watching to see if it continues.
If you've been thinking of selling in Philadelphia I'd say it's still the type of market where you should only sell if you absolutely have to, but maybe it's time to start tackling some of those little fix-up projects so that your home will be ready if the buyers keep coming back over the next few months.
If you're thinking of buying it's time to really get moving. It looks like the longer you wait the more competition you're going to have from other buyers.