We’re well past Labor Day. You know what this means, right? No, not the passé no-more-wearing-white-pants rule: the explosion of new listings coming on the market! Time to cheer and break out the bubbly at the abundance of fresh meat from which buyers can pick. Except there’s a problem with that … we’re not seeing it this year. We may as well be in August because buyer frustration has no reason to abate. Inventory remains tight and sellers are holding off from listing.
Many in our industry are scratching their heads in puzzlement around the case of the missing inventory. Where is it hiding? One theory is that, in a time of volatility and uncertainty, people stick to things they know and are attracted to sources of comfort. Why risk trading up or ruffle those comfort feathers when every other part of your life is ruffled already? A second theory is a bit more profound. It hypothesizes that the ownership lifecycle is stretching out and the real estate market downturn is causing a deeper paradigm shift in how long people will choose to live in their homes. Having outgrown the “flip” mentality of mid 2000’s, today’s owners seek to plant roots for longer than their predecessors.
The market will soon tell us which, if either, theory holds water. In the meantime, buyers will have to watch new listings closely and be ready to move on them if their purchase is a priority.