March is almost over and April is almost here. The winds of change sweep through Lawrence! And unfortunately for many searching home buyers, the market winds are sweeping them right off of their feet! Multiple offer situations are now the norm. Homes are receiving offers tens of thousands of dollars over asking price. It's a wild, wild, Seller's Market!
Compared to last year up to this point, Lawrence had 227 home sales. So far this year, only 195. That's 14% decrease from last year. But, in the same time period, houses are selling for 12% more than 2020. I suppose that makes sense. But I also doubt that that's much consolation for buyers who are out their doing their best to find a new home. This market is brutal. It's intense. It's great for sellers, but if that same home seller has to turn around and buy in the same market, they may decide not to list at all.
And I think that has a lot to do with our current situation. Many home owners have taken advantage of historically low rates to refinance and invest in their current home. For each owner this situation describes means one less house for buyers to buy. It seems most people are simply staying put. Add this micro-economic decision up to a macro view, and you have a housing crisis. Not good!
Nationally, in February this year, there were 4 offers for every home sold. In Lawrence, that means there were probably 6-8. One listing in town this past weekend had over 20 offers! There are lots of cash buyers in the market too. Buyers are pulling out all the stops to get what they want. Waiving inspections is not something I typically recommend doing, but it sure makes a seller feel good. Long story short, home buyers are having to get drastic and creative. If you don't have a good REALTOR working for you right now, I'd say you literally don't stand a chance.
It's hard to say what's going to cool the market at this point. New construction isn't keeping pace. Some talking heads have said rising interest rates will even the market out. I'd say don't count on it. They may have a cooling effect, but rates would have to double, at the very least, in order to even begin to level off this hot market. So, look for this low-inventory market to continue through the rest of the year and beyond. I'll be here to keep up on it all!
-Ryan Desch Broker/Owner, REALTOR