Real estate agents say many of their buyers are encouraged by an expected surge of supply this spring, and that a number of them are taking a wait-and-see approach rather than hustling to get a deal done.
This market shift that puts the control in the hands of the buyer was revealed by a recent Credit Suisse survey of 500 real estate agents around the country.
The report noted that buyer traffic in February was up one point from the previous month, but down 11 points from last year.
The results appear to be in line with expectations, Credit Suisse said, with responses indicating moderate activity across the country compared with last year, intensified by atypical rainfall, snow and cold.
Credit Suisse also said its survey revealed an uptick in incentives in markets like Las Vegas, Houston and Denver, and that Charlotte, Jacksonville, Florida; and New York – Northern New Jersey saw the largest gains in traffic.
Further, the majority of respondents to the monthly survey noted a sequential increase in home prices for the first time since August.
The report also notes that while inventory of existing housing stock is rising as sellers plan for spring demand, there is a lack of supply in housing under $300,000.
Respondents reported a strong demand for housing at this price point, noting that corporate relocations are supporting sales in areas where there is affordable housing stock.
Here is a summary from Credit Suisse of feedback from active real estate agents in the 5 top-performing markets:
1. Charlotte, North Carolina
“Traffic levels met agents' expectations as rising employment opportunities encourage in-migration. That said, closings are constrained by the lack of inventory at more affordable price points.”
2. Jacksonville, Florida
“Moderating rates and snowbirds coming down from Northern states drove demand above realtors' expectations. In turn, the persistent inventory shortage has buyers out and looking at any available property.”
3. New York-Northern New Jersey
“Demand is concentrated at the more affordable price points, including first-time and multi-family properties. Given the potential for further home price moderation, buyers seem willing to wait longer before purchasing.”
4. Atlanta, Georgia
Agents cited an early start to the spring market with buyers motivated by year-over-year price declines and improving inventory levels. Days on market remain low with multiple offers on quality inventory, though we note 52% of our respondents saw greater-than-anticipated incentives.”
5. Denver, Colorado
“In-line with broader trends, Realtors noted healthy demand at affordable price points vs. sluggishness at the higher-end ($500k+). Easing rates and down payment assistance programs are also supporting entry-level traffic.”