Is it time to trade up?

Last Sunday, as you may recall, was a cold, snowy, stormy day. Harborside had a new listing and planned an open house, but the broker wondered whether anybody would venture out in the snow. Should he cancel the open house? He decided to go ahead and see if anybody would show up.

Um. Some 30 people “showed up” and the result was multiple offers for the property.

This property was priced in the $400s. My Yearend review and Outlook noted the change that occurred in the market under $500,000 as 2012 progressed. By analyzing the data in some details, I was able to show clearly when this change happened.

Thus, the demand for SFHs in this price range now should come as no surprise.

Until late 2012, the under $500k segment had been the weak spot in the market. With that segment now firming up, the question arises whether this is a good time to move up to a more expensive home. For several years, factors ranging from general economic concerns to specific individual ones have combined to keep many people away from the trading up that is a characteristic of a healthy housing market in a healthy economy.

Now, with increasing evidence that the recovery is for real, and with a growing belief that mortgage rates have bottomed, trading up is once again making sense.

Take a look at what is available in the following table:

SBU= Subject to Back Up, meaning an offer has been accepted

Note that, apart from the under $400k market, the median Days on Market ranges from roughly 4 to 6 months, more at higher prices. Thus we have two phenomena: a very limited supply, most of which has been on the market for some time.

As a buyer, therefore, it is important to be actively looking. The best way to do this is to retain a Realtor as a buyer’s agent, whose sole responsibility is to you, the buyer.

And if you are thinking of selling, now is a great time.

Here is the similar table for condos in Marblehead. Slim pickings.