Okay, this column is going to be a little different than previous columns. Usually, this space is dedicated to answering the questions that are sent in by readers, but this time I want to answer a question that is asked of me every time someone I meet realizes that I’m a Realtor®. That question is…”When is the market going to get better?”
I always answer the question the same way. It really depends on what you mean by “better”. If you define “better” by the late 90’s to early 2000’s boom that we experienced, then, in my professional opinion, that’s never coming back. I personally have a more realistic approach to thinking about the market. I think the market is getting better right now! Property is being bought and sold every day. The market in its current state is forcing us to be more realistic, which I think is a good thing. Let’s say, for example, you’re a seller and 10 years ago you bought a 1500 sq foot, 2 bedroom home on Richmond’s Northside for $100,000. In 2004, you may have been able to sell it for around $190,000, and today you can sell it for close to $160,000. Instead of thinking that you lost $30,000, take a more realistic view and realize that you were able to make a $60,000 return on your investment in a relatively short amount of time. You couldn’t do that in the stock market right? Now if you’re a buyer, these continue to be the great times for you. Take the following into account. In just the City of Richmond, there are currently listed for sale, in the multiple listing service (MLS), 223 single family homes, with at least 3 bedrooms and at least 2 full bathrooms. The price range of these homes is between $150,000 and $250,000. If you combine these low prices and large inventory, with the still historically low interest rates, then basically what I’m telling you is that houses are on sale! It’s a perfect storm for buyers! So when is the market getting better? It’s a matter of perspective and neither I nor my professional colleagues can predict an exact date when it will all even out. Real Estate continues to be a good long term investment and a vital and obtainable part of the American Dream.