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Real Estate: Home Sellers Still Calling the Shots

Value of homes in CNY the highest ever seen, according to real estate agents

By Steve Yablonski

Janice Egan is a licensed real estate salesperson with Better Homes and Gardens SELECT in Fayetteville.
Janice Egan is a licensed real estate salesperson with Better Homes and Gardens SELECT in Fayetteville.

Whether this is a good time to buy a house depends on several factors, such as your financial situation, life goals and readiness to become a homeowner. Mortgage rates are currently low, making buying a home more affordable.

A seller’s market happens when there are more prospective buyers than homes for sale. Currently, demand for homes is high. Inventory is low. That makes this a seller’s market across Central New York.

“Oh yes, absolutely. It is still a seller market,” said Janice Egan, a licensed real estate salesperson with Better Homes and Gardens SELECT in Fayetteville.

“Today it is definitely a seller’s market. The value of homes is gradually increasing day to day,” agreed Sarah Tarson, a licensed real estate salesperson with Century 21 Tucci Realty in Cicero. “This has to do with the competitive interest rates, the cost of material such as lumber and finding labor. These are subject to why properties are currently skyrocketing. We predict this to go on for about 18 more months. This could go more or less.”

Ryan Yamini, an associate broker at Procopio Real Estate in Clay said the real estate market continues to offer sellers the opportunity to sell their homes for some of the highest values ever seen. “It seems clichéd to say, ‘Now is the best time to sell your home.’ But, with what sellers are getting for their homes, that statement is truer than ever. I have even debated on selling my home I just purchased two years ago because of the increased value in such a short period of time,”

On the buyer side, when showing and preparing offers on homes, the conversation with buyer clients has changed dramatically.

“We have seen clients starting to rethink their needs and sacrifice some of their wants and needs due to the possibility of having to compete with other buyers. Waiving of home inspections, offering prices at or above asking, and other extraordinary offer terms have become the uncomfortable norm,” Yamini said. “Creativity has become a necessity when putting together the strategy for offering a home. Multiple offer scenarios on most homes are driving competition while driving values of the properties at the same time. With the relaxing of restrictions due to COVID, I think the remote working scenario could also start to fade but, it may still be in the back of buyers’ minds.”

According to the Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors, home prices are going up across the region; and, homes are selling faster.

“Not a lot of homes on the market right now. Interest rates are low. So there are a lot of buyers, Egan said. “Almost every listing is selling with multiple offers and going over list price. It is a great time to sell your home. For buyers they are getting a low interest rate, but not a great deal on a house. If buyers wait until next year to buy a house and if rates go up…I think it could be a wash for the type of deal they get. But yes, it is a seller’s market now.”

In March, 83% of existing homes sold were on the market for less than a month, according to the National Association of Realtors. The typical time on the market hit a record low of 18 days, down from 29 days in March 2020, the association said.

Pending home sales increased in March, snapping two consecutive months of declines, the association reported. All but one of the four major U.S. regions experienced month-over-month gains in March, while each area recorded year-over-year growth.

“The increase in pending sales transactions for the month of March is indicative of high housing demand,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

Also, most people are waving contingencies, meaning they’re not doing home inspections or radon testing to make their offer more enticing, Tarson pointed out.

“This is why it is crucial to make sure you have a place to stay before selling your house because it is very easy to sell right now as the market is starving,” she said. “People today, with the pandemic and working remote, are looking for convenient spaces such as an office. Some are even buying houses with an extra bedroom to convert to an office space. I see this ever growing because companies are still on the trend of their employees working from home.”

Some agents caution that sellers, who then become buyers, are having a hard time competing with first-time home buyers or other buyers who don’t have the contingency of having to close on their home to buy a new one, according to the NAR.

“We have been in a seller’s market for a few years due to low inventory. But with the economic changes from the pandemic, including record low interest rates and population fluctuations, the sellers market strength is at an all time high,” Yamini said. “The inventory has hit an extremely low point having less than 300 active listings in all of Onondaga County as of last month. With low interest rates staying steady, the surge of new buyers to the market continues showing limited signs of a correction.”

Sellers call the shots and the proof is in the pricing. The median home price rose to $303,900 in January 2021, a 14.1% increase compared with 12 months before, according to a National Association of Realtors report.