Every August my wife reminds me it’s August. Usually by saying something like, “It’s August, don’t freak out.” Or “Don’t freak out, it’s August.” In general, whatever she says usually contains don’t freak out and August. She knows after 26 years in this crazy business, that it’s always slow in August. She has to remind me because it always seems to catch me by surprise. You’d think that I’d have figured it out by now, but truth is, it always freaks me out. 2016 has by every measure, been an outstanding year for real estate. Total unit sales are up. Prices are up. Rates are down and inventory while still tight, is a little better. Employment is up and incomes are even rising a little. If this were the Goldilocks story, you’d say the porridge is piping hot and just right! (Search available homes here).
Yet I find myself wondering if this August is different than the rest. Is this seasonal slowdown a signal that the market is ready to shift and should I be bracing myself for a market correction?
So let’s look at the market here this August, in the Conejo Valley. First let’s talk about August itself and why my wife always reminds me it’s August. See the thing about real estate is that there are seasonal tendencies or patterns that emerge. For example, the Super Bowl is more than just the end of football season, it’s the kick off for the Southern California real estate season too. Most consumers think that summer is the best time to list their home to sell. Fact is, I like to list just before Super Bowl to get a jump on the market. My best months, year in and year out are February through May. Spring is our area’s strongest market. You see by mid May life starts interfering with real estate. Mother’s Day, Memorial Day; Father’s Day and graduation and before you know it it’s 4th of July. It should be noted that there are structural changes impacting the market, at least there are here anyway.
It used to be that school started either immediately before or after Labor Day. But now some districts are staring as early as the first week of August. This kills the month of July because now instead of August being the final vacation month and the school supply buying month, it’s starting in July. This has conspired to make July almost as slow as August.
Since spring is the best market, sellers usually get their price and spring buyers find some of the best properties come up for sale. As I mentioned, inventory has been creeping up. We started the year right around 500 units for sale. Currently we are around 600. Up, but not more than we should expect for this time of year really. In fact, we have almost exactly the same number of units available as we did last year this month. But does that explain the general malaise I’m seeing in our market?
2016 is also an election year and if you haven’t noticed, it’s a bit unusual and it’s the news. If it’s an election year, it’s also a Summer Olympic year. All this conspires to make August 2016 even slower than usual. The question then is, is it a good time or a bad time to buy or sell? The answer is, I’s always a good time to buy or sell real estate. There is never a time when there aren’t excellent opportunities to buy real estate, but you do need the right agent in your corner helping you along the way. (Contact Tim Here).
So what’s the market like? It’s good in some areas, great in others. Remember, real estate is a local and some argue, hyper-local business and it’s also a seasonal business. Home with pools sell best in summer. OK, I know what you’re thinking, “Spoken like a true Realtor,” right? Yes, but seriously, it is always a good time. Let’s start with the buyer part of the equation. If the market is slow, what are sellers going to have to do to move their home? That’s right, be more willing to negotiate. Thus a buyer can get a better buy than just a few months earlier.
For the seller though, yes you might have to be more flexible on price, but what happens after you sell? You likely go and buy something to replace your sold home with. And that means you’re also buying when the seller needs to be more flexible. Plus, when prices are up like they’ve been, you are cashing out and taking some profits off the table. Trying to time the market, any market, is not only impossible, it’s wrong. Trying to time the market almost always leads to missing out on great opportunities.
I currently have a home with owned solar (no electric bill) and don’t think for a minute that isn’t a popular amenity when we’re running the air conditioning every day (for all listings visit 1000oaksrealestate.com). So the market is good. It’s August. School just started for our largest local district today. Labor Day is just around the corner and then it’s onto September, which is traditionally a very good month in real estate. So you think you might want to buy before September? Maybe so and have I got the home for you!