Jim Valentine: Are you catching the falling knife?
The Northern Nevada real estate market has been most interesting over the past two years. As the recession recovery began, demand increased, many homes had newfound equity and entered the market, and prices were as varied as the involved buyers’ and sellers’ circumstances. It was most interesting how buyers would find themselves in a multiple offer situation, but would all pull back at a certain point rather than pursue the goal in the “fish feeding frenzy” manner that we saw in the 2003-2006 time frame.
In the past two years we witnessed a steady increase in prices to the point where they are now seemingly stabilized across the board. They’ve gone down for a few months, up and then down again as the market found its way to where we are now. Curiously enough, the lack of inventory hasn’t had as much of an impact as one would expect. High demand and low inventory usually make for higher prices, but we’ve actually seen months of decreasing prices despite such a demand:inventory ratio.
We believe much of this fluctuation is due to the fact that the last recession cut so deep in all segments of the market that people are still cautious. Money is now flowing well and investors and getting liquid and moving their money about again, but they are being careful, not counting on the market increasing 10% per quarter to offset any purchase mistakes they may make which they did in the early 2000s.
With interest rates very low, new loan programs opening the doors for certain market segments, and confidence in the economy, many people are realizing what a good time this is to buy a house. That is evident as we see prices creeping up, or, in some cases, being surprisingly ambitious and realizing that ambition at the close — higher prices. There is no predicting this market in its current state other than understanding that things are active and many people want to buy and sell in Northern Nevada.
In times like these buyers can get frustrated. The “nightly news” says there is a bubble and we will be seeing another recession. Other pontificators talk about the strength of the market. Buyers like to think that the prices may come down now that they’ve had a peak at how high they’ve gone, but that opportunity may be gone forever … or not. One never knows. If you are trying to time the market it is not unlike those trying to determine when to buy stock in the stock market. The analogy is referred to as “catching a falling knife.” You have to be careful and lucky so you don’t get cut and you might just drop the knife.
Don’t let your investment and peace of mind be exposed to a whirling sharp blade. In real estate there are other benefits than that of price. In residential real estate you have the joy of home ownership — your sanctuary from which nobody can remove you. There are tax benefits, pride of ownership, stability, and the potential for appreciation during the course of ownership. It is more important in our mind that you identify your wants and needs and achieve those than to worry about the single factor of price.
Our Advice: You certainly don’t want to overpay, nobody ever does, but you shouldn’t be frozen by your analysis of the market and where it might go to the point where you don’t act. You will watch your friends and family enjoy their investments while you hope your landlord doesn’t give you notice because it is time to sell. Remember, when the market recovers or increases sufficiently landlords often decide to sell. It is then that you might find yourself on the curb wishing you had purchased. Stay off the curb and in your home — look seriously at buying in these wonderful times.
Change will happen regardless of what you hope for. Be proactive and get yourself and your family situated so the changes don’t have an excessive impact on you.
When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704. firstname.lastname@example.org.