Has it seemed to you like demand is increasing in the real estate market? Consider a few data points…
In our Bay Area forums, one of the most popular threads — it came in at 6:44 a.m. on Monday — is about how crowded open houses were this weekend:
We’re used to running into one or two other couples or families if we’re in a well-priced house, but this weekend… we’ve never seen anything like it. There were 10 pairs of shoes outside of one home, another home had one couple or family in every single room while we were there.
Then an hour later, Marcella Branniff, who runs a customer support organization here at Redfin, mentioned in a meeting that she was touring open houses this weekend in Seattle and noticed that “every single one was packed.”
Meanwhile requests to tour properties and meet agents have remained at peak levels for Redfin in the first week of June, when normally we expect to see early-stage demand slacken from May.
Now of course, most of the folks in an open house are neighbors or looky-loos — and our clientele are notoriously careful to make a move — so it’s hard to figure out how much of this is real. This morning Redfin’s Adam Wiener queried our customer database to find out whether the competition was translating into more offers.
His findings: 71 of 108 (66%) offers that Redfin made in Southern California this May faced competition from other offers. We know that many other clients chose not to make offers after hearing about the competition, so the real numbers are in some ways even worse.
In a post-script to his email laying out the numbers, Adam mentioned that many of the agents in our partner program were “frantic,” a word I haven’t heard in years.
This isn’t to say we’re at the bottom of the real estate market. Because of the foreclosure moratorium that ended in March, a big new wave of foreclosed homes is scheduled to come online later this summer, on top of an interest-rate increase. And traffic on some large real estate websites has started to decline (though Redfin’s unique visitors in May still increased significantly over last month).
All the same, it seems like demand is up; some is seasonal, some is the result of the $8,000 first-time home-buyer credit, some is just tire-kickers; some is because banks are carefully titrating the supply of foreclosed homes to avoid flooding the market with supply. We don’t know how much demand will last beyond July or August.
So we thought we’d ask: what are you seeing out there?