Happy Fourth of July. Enjoy the red, white and blue of it all. Aside from the truckloads of watermelons for sale, the block parties, and the return of the festive Piedmont Fourth of July parade, we've clearly moved into the summer market as witnessed by the slower turn-around and longer marketing periods for many of our listings - perfectly good homes that would have flown off the market just a few short months ago.
This new reality is followed by more sobering news of "improved" or "transparent pricing," (aka price reductions) as Agents and Sellers come to terms with what's amounted to a reset of value (and for many Buyers, a pause in their hunt). Even so, values are still well above where they were prior to January 2020; a correction that probably shouldn't have surprised any of us (it was long overdue) but did so just the same.
If you're a Seller, take note: the adjustment is a return to a more "normal" market as was common up until the time of COVID when traveling was forbidden, and the concept of "home" became front and center on just about everyone's priority list.
Historically, and until then, "selling" was a seasonal game with a well-established rhythm. Spring was the height of the market. Summer typically slowed down. The Fall presented a surge of activity, and the market all but died come the holiday season. That was then. This is now. What lies ahead is still unclear.
In hindsight, we hadn't expected that the worst pandemic in 100 years would result in a year-round run on housing, but it did. Now that a negative test is no longer required for foreign travel, many families are taking advantage of this newfound freedom, and jumping on planes for extended vacations overseas. Having been stuck at home for the past few years, they're not just going for a quick trip, but for much of the summer. (Don't worry, they'll be back and families will still need housing.)
For Buyers staying closer to home, this is the opportunity you've been waiting for; it's summer lovin'! Instead of growing tentative, this is the time to get aggressive and jump into the void. With less competition at the negotiating table, the market can't help but respond more favorably to well-intentioned Buyers. "Well-intentioned" being the operative words here; the market hasn't fallen off a cliff. In other words, bargain hunters will have to wait to see if deeper discounts are in the offing. (They may or may not.)
Moreover, contingencies that had all but gone by the wayside, will now begin to reappear in the purchase agreements once more, which honestly, will be welcome additions to the process. While reams of information may seem like "oversharing," inspections, full disclosure, and due diligence work to everyone's benefit - especially the Sellers.
I, too, am headed out of town AND out of the country. Cliff and I will join our good friends and traveling companions as we head to the Netherlands - so The Perspective will be taking a few weeks off. We'll see the fjords, visit the palace in Copenhagen, and meet up for a Backroads trip of six days of cycling in the countryside. (I'll be on an e-bike; it's my vacation after all.)
Sarah, Jill, and the newest member of our team, Kate, will be here to attend to any needs you may have in my absence. I hope to return refreshed and excited to see what the future holds (that's the plan anyway).
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Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 17 years and has published more than 650 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.