I admit to being bored with this market. By all accounts, including mine, the market is rather hot. There are pending contracts in every segment of our vacation home market, except the very upper reaches of our lakefront strata. There are buyers, lots of them, and there is inventory, I suppose. But what bores me today is not the gray sky, or the cold air, though both of those have been testing my patience. The piers are going in slowly, at a boring pace. The grass is green, sure, but it’s still sort of ugly and clumpy and thin in spots where winter has literally left its mark. The birds are chirping, but it’s a boring chirp. Shrill, even. No, what bores me is not the weather or the birds or the snail’s pace at which the pier are growing from the shoreline- what bores me today is the predictable nature of the market.
Lakefront inventory that should have built in January and February didn’t build. It may have been the weather or the weather, or possibly the weather, but whatever the reason, the lakefront market did not add much new inventory during the historical spring market months of January and February. Judging from recent listing activity, it isn’t very hard to see what happened next. Sensing an abundance of buyers and a shortage of fresh sellers, brokers took to their emails and begged for listings. Some took to Twitter, but I only like Twitter for making snide remarks to quasi-famous people. I also like it for gauging the collective intelligence of this country based on their grammar and spelling, which has led me to believe that everyone on Twitter is actually a third grader. Even so, through email or Twitter or The Facebook, agents told their clients that the time was indeed right to sell.
These owners who were not yet sellers resisted, at least at first. They told their brokers that they didn’t want to sell. They told them that summer was coming, and they liked boating and swimming, and they love fish fry. They told them that, perhaps they’d sell, but only if the price could be $X. Brokers rebuffed those sellers, because those numbers were not possible. This was in February. March came, and the dialogue continued. Brokers asked again, sellers rebuffed. The fish fry, they said. April came. Inventory was still low, buyers still plentiful, the mood still, despite the weather that found April looking exactly as March, which looked exactly as November, only bleaker and muddier, positive. Sellers pushed back again, brokers pleaded. Fish fry was mentioned, but greenbacks won. The property would be listed in May, and it would be a glorious thing.
Then the listing came to market, and the boringly predictable part of all of this is that the price was too high. The price was set with the goal of perchance finding a willing buyer, which is very different than a price set with the goal of selling a property. Many of these new listings that we’re seeing are not exciting. They are not priced well, and though some of them will find buyers, these are not properties that look appealing to me. Prices are up and sales are, too, but it won’t be hard to stall a market if we keep force feeding it overpriced, underwhelming properties. It’s gray out today, but my mood is even less sunny.
So what happens next? What becomes of our market? How does the next 60 days shake out? Well, it’s going to play out like this. Some of these listings are going to sell. Buyers that lack discernment or proper guidance will buy something new, just because it’s new. There are consumers that trade their cars in every two years just to get what’s new, and these are the buyers that will buy a new lake home this season in spite of the inventory, not because of it. Other buyers will take the smart approach, and pick off the aged inventory that should be able to be purchased at some reasonable discount. Other buyers will sit back and wait, looking for an increasingly rare combination of low days on market and proper pricing.
Me? I’m going to sit at this desk and be bored for a while. The weekend looks to be sunny, which I’ve been told is a condition of the sky that finds it bright, possibly blue.
Above, a new listing of mine that’ll be coming to market in a few weeks. A truly dazzling listing, obviously.