Today in Cincinnati Real Estate

For Buyers. For Sellers. And Everyone Else.

House Hunting and the Hundred Yard Dash…

Beautiful group of young people running in park.

Do you know where these people are going?  I’m willing to guess. I think they just heard about a house coming available in the neighborhood in which they want to live, and they are heading that way.  Are they crazy for running?  No, they’ve just come to understand that house hunting right now is kind of like being  ready to do a hundred yard dash…at any moment on any day.

The main headline in the current real estate market remains the same: the inventory of available homes is low. Low. Very low.  As I’ve mentioned here before, the rule of thumb is that the real estate market is “balanced” between interests of buyers and sellers when we have about a 6-month inventory of homes available for sale. (This count is the number of homes we expect could be sold in 6 months, based on the number sold the previous year. When there are more homes than this available, the nature of supply/demand makes it a buyer’s market.  When there are fewer homes available, it becomes a seller’s market.) And right now that inventory is low.  So low!

Data  this week on the Cincinnati market tell us we had a 3.2 month supply of homes.  Have I mentioned that this is really low???  How low is it?  It is the lowest level seen in our area at any time in the last 15 years! (Possibly longer, since the data were recorded only since 2000.)  That’s a sellers market.  Some areas/price points, though, are still quite heavily oversaturated with available homes…which means to hit that 3.2 month average, some markets in Cincinnati  have even FEWER homes available.  I ran data on one community this morning, checking supply of homes between $250,000-$500,000, and found there to be only a TWO WEEK supply of homes available.  That is why the folks in that photo are running.  Any new offerings, if priced appropriately for condition, might  be listed today and gone tomorrow.  And so those buyers are running…

It really has often come to feel like the race is to the swiftest….

This is what I’ve been seeing with my house-hunting clients.  A new listing comes available, we speed to be there as soon as they are out of work that day, and get there at 5:01 pm.  We find parking somewhere on a street full of the cars of other buyers and agents, and go tour the house with the 4, or 7, or 10 other groups  that have also raced there right from work. If the house is appealing, it probably receives multiple offers that first day. I hear you; you are thinking, “But surely that can’t be everywhere.”  Possibly not.  But is has been everywhere I’ve been in the last several weeks. It has been in Hyde Park. In Blue Ash. In Oakley. In Anderson. In Pleasant Ridge. In Liberty Township. In Kenwood. In Columbia Township. In Madeira. And just recently saw a listing in Covedale go into multiple offers on its first day. Those communities represent  a pretty wide geographic spread  of pushpins on the map of Cincinnati!

There was a while when I was looking in one community with some buyers, and we were there literally EVERY evening to see the newest thing.  There was another agent and his client that  we ran into at every showing! We began joking about which one of us would pick up the pizza for when we’d all see each other at dinnertime the next day….

When demand is this challenging, part of the puzzle becomes locating homes BEFORE they come on the market. Recently I was present for a number of “preview” showings, for homes before they even hit the market.  Again, groups of would-be buyers waiting to get in.  We previewed the home of one of my sellers recently, had 10 groups of lookers through in 2 hours, and had multiple offers (all over asking price)…immediately.

A potential new buyer called earlier because she saw that a charming home just went on the market this morning in her prized neighborhood…and since this was after lunchtime already, she said wryly, she assumed it was already pending.  I pulled up the listing she was talking about.  It IS super-cute. Yeah, she could be right.  It might already have offers on it. (Update: just this second received a call from the listing agent; it does have one offer in already.)

Running shoes are this season’s newest house hunting accessory….

If you are a home owner thinnnnnnking about selling, please think quickly. In many neighborhoods and at many price points, the timing could not possibly be better for you!!  The buyers of Cincinnati are waiting to pay you well for your home. They may be lining up on the sidewalk outside your house already, hoping to make this easy for you.

If you are a buyer, does this challenging environment make you feel hopeless?  It doesn’t have to!  Just take a deep breath, kick hopelessness to the curb, and try feeling DETERMINED instead. It can be done! I bet this is not the toughest thing you’ve ever done.  Find a skilled agent, make a plan, for heaven’s sake (!!) get pre-approved for a mortgage so you will be appealing to a seller when you find the right place, lace up your running shoes and you can make it happen!

I get calls all the time from new prospective buyer clients who tell me the litany of houses they tried to get and didn’t, wondering if there’s a way to do things differently.  Everyone deserves their happy ending!  Eight of my clients are closing this month.  Honestly, people REALLY DO finish this process with keys to a new home!

On your mark, get set… Wait!  Who’s bringing the pizza today? 🙂

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