Real Estate

Here’s what is happening in local housing markets across the country

Local markets spotlights 5 different areas across the country, showcasing what is uniquely happening in those housing markets. Local real estate agents, loan officers and appraisers share what characteristics are currently defining their housing markets.

Aspen, Colorado

Aspen Skyline

This is probably not the time to buy your Aspen dream home. According to a report produced by Douglas Elliman and real estate appraisal company Miller Samuel, single-family home listings sloped down 58% year-over-year in July 2021 to a paltry 20 total in the famous ski-resort town. Single-family homebuyers who entered contract, meanwhile, slalomed to 12 total in July compared to 46 a year earlier, per the report. Of those 12 homes purchased, 10 cost at least $5 million. The slightly more affordable Aspen option are condos. Thirty-three condo contracts were entered in July and 20 were in the $2-$4 million range. “New listings within both property types fell sharply from the same period last year,” said study author Jonathan Miller, “keeping upward pressure on prices.”

Greer, Arizona

Scenic view of red mountains in Sedona Arizona

Dana Hubbell is a broker in Chandler, which lies just southeast of Phoenix. But her team of 10 agents is also doing business a few hours north. “I got a call from somebody, ‘I’m calling on your cabin in Greer, Arizona. I will buy it sight unseen,’” Hubbell said. “I was shocked by how many people just wanted to get away from where they were. Some people want to move to small towns where they don’t require masks and vaccines.” Greer is an unincorporated community in Apache County, Arizona, near the New Mexico border and the Little Colorado River. Its closest towns are Pinetop and Show Low, which encircle the Apache Native American reservation. Hubbell said that her team can have an advantage on local home sellers because she places her home on the regional Multiple Listings Service. “Some agents around there go rogue and throw up signs without listing,” Hubbell said.

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Plymouth Plantation

“It’s still a strong seller ’s market,” said Ryan Cook, a broker at HomeSmart First Class Realty. “But it’s shifting.” Cook runs a brokerage office outside of Boston. According to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors, the median price of a Boston area home soared 14% to $761,000 from May 2020 to May 2021. But Cook has observed a change. “There has been a softening,” he said. “Outside of a couple of pockets there are now two or three offers instead of 15-20.” Some buyers, Cook said, have cold feet. “A buyer can only be pushed so far. You go in and you start to be discouraged. I blame that not on the consumer — the consumer is not the expert — but on the agent.” An agent’s job is to put matters into perspective and prevent situations like a buyer waiving a home inspection, Cook said. But too many, “Have gotten caught up in the hysteria.”

Newcastle, California

coast of the sea Newcastle

Newcastle is a town of just over 1,000 people, but it lies at an increasingly hot spot of California real estate — an area northeast of San Francisco that is attracting people moving out of that urban core. Specifically, Newcastle is 31 miles northeast of Sacramento, California’s once sleepy capital. “A lot of the buyers are moving away from inner city San Francisco,” said Darryl Rogers, president-owner of Better Homes and Garden Real Estate’s local franchisee Reliance Partners. “Sacramento is reaping the awards. We’ve got great jobs there, a lot in the medical health field.” Indeed, while California’s overall population inched down in 2020, the Sacramento metropolitan area’s population grew 12,750 people, according to state Department of Finance numbers. And the city’s home prices continued an upward trajectory that is sharp even by Golden State standards.

San Francisco, California

The sun rises over San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge

In the last nine months of 2020, a California Policy Lab study noted that San Francisco lost 38,000 people out of its population of 874,000. Also, according to a San Francisco Chamber of Commerce report from this summer, 40% of 500 San Franciscans surveyed said that they planned to leave, citing a lower quality of living. Still, residents must be accustomed to a quite high quality of living, because the average median home price is now at $1.5 million, according to Zillow. “It’s still high as hell here,” said Heidi Mueller, a broker at the San Francisco office of Engel & Volkers. Mueller acknowledged that during the pandemic’s nadir, there was noticeably less demand in the condo market. “But people are coming back. People that can afford to live in San Francisco still want to.”

Local Markets was originally featured in the October/November issue of HousingWire Magazine. To read the full issue, click here.

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