Sarah's Update, February 2023

Sarah's Update, February 2023

February, 2023

Our market is unique, like all markets. Economic and real estate updates in the news do not really apply to us. One can obtain a sense of the overall Northern CA market or the general state of the CA economy by reading the paper but only from a hyper-local source will you glean the nuances of the housing industry in Berkeley, Oakland, El Cerrito, Albany, Kensington and Richmond. 

We are not entirely shielded from the state of the economy, of course, but we are always at the mercy of limited inventory and unique housing stock. More than anything else, working with a local expert is critical here. Be it on the buy side or the selling side, the nuances are significant and local customs in pricing, offer strategy, presentation and pace play a huge role in the outcome of the home sales experience. 

We saw a real shift in our market in the second half of 2022 and many buyers were able to get into homes that only weeks before would have been off-limits. Many sellers were disappointed having witnessed neighbors sell similar homes for much higher prices. It was a very intense and complex moment in our market as prices and attitudes were changing on a daily basis. I watched as the best of us, the most tuned-in and experienced, worked with our clients to smoothly and consciously guide them through the buying or selling process. I was proud to be one of the agents who took the time to educate my clients, set appropriate expectations and do everything in my power to  respond appropriately to the market. 

At that time I advised my buying clients to take advantage of this opportunity to get into a home as I anticipated a swift uptick in prices in January. I also advised my sellers to wait until January or February, as buyers became accustomed to the interest rate hike and the inventory plummeted.

I am no soothsayer but I will acknowledge that my advice was sage. The market in the first 6 weeks of 2023 has been very strong. As I write this, 2/13/23, we have very few closed sales to show evidence but because I work with so many buyers and sellers and because I talk to my colleagues daily about their experiences, I am witnessing significantly higher prices than 3 months ago. The more desirable homes are again obtaining multiple offers, 10 or 11, even more. They are priced much lower than the expected sale price to generate interest and ratifying for prices that are yet again, very high indeed. 

The big question remains, will this strong market persist throughout 2023. Of course, no one knows but I suspect we will see a bit of a dip in the summer, because we always do. And it will pick back up in the fall, only to get quiet again over the holidays. This is our general pattern here. Things could change, absolutely, and if they do I will be here, right on the cutting edge of the knowledge, sharing it with you. 

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