Any good financial advisor will tell you it is almost impossible to gauge the bottom or top of the investment market. Investors try all the time to hit that sweet spot only to discover they are either too early or too late. The real estate market is much the same way.
Headlines in the San Diego UT Business section and LA Times front page tell the same story: housing prices have increased slightly and inventory is low in San Diego. I have noticed since the beginning of the year that there has been an increase in the number of buyers in the market and these buyers are in every price point. Just take a walk or drive through your neighborhood and see how many For Sale signs you see, I would bet it is not many. The latest figures for home sales in San Diego show that we are one of only 3 major markets in the country that has experienced a price gain. Foreclosures have fallen over 20% and the “wave” of foreclosures hasn’t happened in San Diego and I predict it never will.
Comments from other veteran agents in two meetings I attended today show the same trends I am seeing. One agent said “the bottom of the market was last month and a lot of buyers missed it.” I agree with her. Homes priced in the $300,000’s and $400,000’s are snapped up as quickly as they come on the market. Most of the homes in this price range are seeing multiple offers. By multiple offers I mean 4, 5 even 6 offers on the same home. Low ball offers are just being ignored by sellers now and agents are counseling their sellers to wait just a bit for a good offer rather than jumping at any offer as we saw in 2011.
Interest rates have remained low and new lending options are making financing a little easier providing you have good credit, a job and have managed your debt well. The underwriters are still very risk averse so a conversation with a lender at the beginning of your home search is a must for a serious home shopper.
So, with all this information, did you miss the bottom of the market? Perhaps, but home ownership is still a goal for over 75% of all Americans and fence sitting is for the birds. If you truly want to own a home, get out there and find a great agent to help you with your search and be ready to jump. Even if you missed the bottom at least you won’t be buying at the top of the market if you act soon.