How’s the market going?

Randy Butler Contributing columnist

Randy Butler Contributing columnist

Since I started selling real estate some 15 years ago, this is a question that gets asked a lot by anyone in my line of work. It seems that most everyone has some level of interest in the housing market, even folks that have never owned a home. With all the ups and downs it is a very interesting topic. And, like most people in sales, I always have an answer.

With the recent changes in our world I am still getting asked that question that will always have an ever-changing answer. It is kind of funny in a way. The questioner knows or maybe expects a negative response. People try to find a nice way of asking, “We know it’s bad, just how bad is it?” I have always replied at first with, “No one has come to pick up all my stuff just yet!”

About anyone that follows the buying market on most anything always seems to be able to pinpoint the exact reason for the good or the bad. Truth is, at least my truth, is how does anyone know for sure?

Yes, the market has changed once again. I have folks wanting and needing to sell their property, but they do not feel it is a wise or safe to have several people coming into their locked down fortress. Some buyers also do not feel safe going in other homes for fear of being infected. Both are understandable.

For those of you that have never been in a career where your compensation is 100 percent commission based, this may be a hard concept to understand. It is never a consistent income. I have had times when buyers and sellers almost fall out of the sky and land on me. At other times, no matter how hard I have tried, nothing works, and I mean nothing. But that is the nature of the beast as we say. Not much anyone can do to change it.

But as hard as this may be to believe, the selling market is still very good. Anyone that is looking will agree that there is still a severe shortage of houses to buy. This makes it an awesome time to sell. And when there is a shortage of most anything, the price will go up. On the flip side of it being a great time to sell, it is also a great time to purchase a home. With interest rates at or just below 3 percent, buyers can afford a much nicer home for the same payment. These two things make for a strong market.

Just to make sure I know what I am talking about, I decided to run the numbers just to see how bad the virus has affected home sales. Last year in Highland County from Jan. 1 to May 14 there were 125 homes sold in the county. During the same time period this year, there have been 116 homes sold. Simple math tells us we are down only nine homes. The average sales price is right at $119,000. Those are very strong numbers for our area.

Yes, we are doing business different than we once did. But who is not? Appraisers are not allowed to go inside homes. They are asked to use the pictures we post online and report them to the lender. I have heard that some sellers are doing videos instead of allowing the potential buyers to view the home. As the old saying goes, “There is more than one way to skin a cat.” Not even sure that has ever even been done.

We all ask ourselves each day how all this is going to work. The folks that cut our hair will be busy from the moment they’re allowed to open until doomsday, that is for sure. But some of the others, again, how is it going to work? Will it be slow in starting? Will it be full speed ahead when the doors open?

That is for the folks higher up the food chain than me to decide. All I know for sure is the real estate transactions are still going strong.

Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.

Randy Butler Contributing columnist Butler Contributing columnist