Stuart’s Housing Market Year in Review and 2019 Forecast
After all the exhilaration of last year’s strong showing, here in Stuart we’re once again looking ahead to a very reliable and stable real estate market in 2019. With the New Year well underway, I’d like to review last years’ housing market performance as well as what sellers and buyers can expect in 2019.
The median sale price for the fourth quarter, year-over-year, rose a little more than 1% for 3-bedroom homes – from $285,000 to $288,000. On the other hand, sale prices for 4-bedroom-homes jumped more than 18%, from $435,000 to $515,000. Interestingly, active inventory was almost identical for both periods.
A STABLE MARKET IS A HEALTHY MARKET
We helped a ton of sellers make a lot of money off 2018’s hot prices, but we should not forget that an overheated market is dangerous. From whatever causes a market to overreach, be it an influx of new jobs from business development, government development, a perceived shortage, fears of spikes in interest rates and/or inflation, those good things can backfire on residential real estate. When supply and demand are skewed too much in any one direction, the dreaded price bubble can descend and almost certainly lead to a crash.
The good news is that right now, our market is gradually returning to normal; there’s no “dam” about to burst, no bubble of bad mortgages. Our housing prices have gone up due to natural causes – supply, demand, and general economic growth. If prices continued to rise by double-digit percentages, I’d be worried. What’s happening now is healthy and good for everyone.
Now is the time when a lot of psychology comes into play as folks decide to buy, sell, upsize or downsize a home. Today and for most of 2019 buyers and sellers will be acting on concerns, fears, and excitement that will have a very real impact on the industry. Here are just a few.
WHAT SELLERS CAN EXPECT
Most people are at least minimally aware of their neighborhood market’s health from tactile sources. How many For Sale signs are up? How many new students are in their children’s classes? What are their friends and neighbors saying about their buy/sell experiences? As soon as a homeowner starts paying attention, it doesn’t take too many indicators for folks to form a strong opinion.
Right now, those indicators are to sell while things are definitely strong – who knows what may happen to upset the applecart? Conversations heard at a church social: “2008 erased a ton of our equity but now it’s all back and then some!” “Interest rates rose some, but my agent’s still scheduling tons of showings for my home.”
Right now, sellers will still get a price at or near 2018’s price for the same month. By the end of the year, it’s possible their final ale price could be a few percentage points lower than 2018 (for the same comparison month).
We often overlook the obvious fact that in a seller’s market the sellers are often buyers as well (looking for a replacement home), so 2018’s high prices actually discouraged many homeowners from listing. As prices normalize, we expect many new sellers to come out of the woodwork. This will make it easy for them to find another home to buy, but the increased supply will lead to lower prices later in 2019.
WHAT BUYERS CAN EXPECT
Buyers get a feel for things quickly because no one likes to pay more than a fair and reasonable price, so knowing the state of the market is essential. Buyers aren’t nearly as fearful of taking the plunge now that they know we’re past the days of fierce bidding wars; they have a little more room to negotiate and can usually move on to another property if it doesn’t work out. This is a great benefit because we’ve worked with buyers over the last few years who were genuinely apprehensive about making an offer if they felt the price way out of line. Now that we’re on level ground, that fear is gone and 2019 should be extremely good for both buyers and sellers.
First time home buyers will begin to see more homes available in whatever price range they’re looking, and later in the year they may even find a few bargains. Without the concern of losing equity on an existing home, many first time home buyers are happy to wait the market out. However, with interest rates steadily rising, it may be advisable to make a move sooner rather than later.
DON’T LET THE MARKET DRIVE YOU
Unless you’re looking at investment properties (and if you are, let me know), your decision to buy or sell should not be based on market conditions. Most people move because they want better schools, a different size home, a shorter drive to work; for any number of reasons.
Having said that, if you’re thinking about buying or selling, right now is a great time to make a move in Stuart. The market does not have great momentum. It’s methodical and just right for you to think more about your goals and plans than anything else. Once you list with us, with our extensive multi-channel marketing program and professional home presentations, it won’t take long to match your home with the proper buyer and arrive at a great price. And now it is the superb time to shop and choose your next home without the chaotic pressure of recent years when the market was climbing back from the Great Recession. At the Joseph Sabato Group, we even have access to “pre-market” listings that other buyers aren’t seeing. There will likely be seasonal fluctuations as there usually are, but this year will be more stable than any of the last five or so years.
The net result from looking at today’s market conditions in Stuart is confidence and total optimism. This is a great market; seasoned, established, with ample inventory and a plethora of qualified buyers – both locally and from up north. Give us a call today to talk about your next move!
Author: Joseph Sabato
Joseph ranks in the Top 1% of Keller Williams agents in the United States and is ranked #1 in sales for KW Martin County agents. Interested in finding or selling a home in Martin County? Call 772-237-3435