When the market was sizzling hot in 2003-2005 buyers and their agents worked hard to come up with creative ways to get their offers noticed. Escalation clauses, waiving contingencies and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies arrived with hand delivered offers.
During 2006-2008 the market changed and the buyers had the upper hand. Lowball offers, multiple contingencies and starving agents were the norm. Now here we are three quarters of the way through 2009 and we are back to multiple offers again.
There is a rule of thumb (I have no idea who made the rule) that if the available inventory in an area is below 6 months then we are in a “sellers market” and above that number we are in a “buyers market.” If that true then we have made a dramatic turn and are back in a seller’s market. According the reports for July 09, Northern Virginia currently has a 3.62 month supply of homes.
Add to the dwindling inventory the prices are starting to creep up as well. Investors who snapped up the homes no one else wanted are now flipping those properties back on the market at double what they paid for them. Does this mean that sellers truly have the upper hand again? No but it does mean that buyers need to think twice about trying to play the wait and see on a home they really like. It also means that seller may not be inclined to give away the store when it comes to accepting an offer.
Personally I’m hoping we end this roller coaster soon and find some balance. We need a market where deals can be made without a winner or loser.