This spring was tough for home buyers in the DC and Baltimore markets. But, a larger supply of homes for sale should make the summer easier for them.
Not long ago, the biggest problem we faced around here was too much inventory. There were tons of homes for sale and not enough buyers.
Lately, however, we’ve had the opposite problem. Many buyers who went home shopping this spring had a hard time finding something to buy. There just weren’t many decent properties you could buy before someone else snatched them up—especially in the most popular neighborhoods.
In fact, when you factor in both sales and the available inventory, you find that March 2013 was the most competitive month for buyers we have seen since June 2005. That means it has been 92 months since buyers had to fight one another as hard as they did this March.
Those buyers who didn’t find something in the spring and are still shopping can be encouraged by this: There are more homes out there now. Just look at the chart below. You can see that the available inventory (recorded on the last day of each month) has been growing all year.
That’s not unusual. We always begin the year with low inventory, which then climbs upward as the spring market heats up.
But there’s another thing that will encourage this summer’s buyers: the rise in listing activity. The second chart below shows how many homes were listed during the first five months of the year from 2007-2013.
When homes were selling slowly a few years ago, there was less incentive to list your property. Now that sales are brisk and prices are up, more folks want to sell.
So there’s actually a lot of good news to go around these days.
For sellers: Properly-priced homes should sell fairly quickly even as we enter the summer market, and you’ll get more for your home than you would have 1-2 years ago.
For buyers: The summer and fall are good times to be in the market because you won’t compete with as many buyers as you did in the spring, yet there will be more inventory to choose from.
—Chris Sicks has reported on the Washington-Baltimore real estate market for 20 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org