“Months of Inventory” goes down in March, but very localized

“Months of Inventory” went down significantly in March from 8.99 to 7.45 while actual total inventory increased somewhat from 8549 to 8985.  But even inside the Charleston Market, these numbers are very localized.  For example, while the average months of inventory is 7.45, the poles are very broad from 3.4 months of inventory in parts of Dorchester County, to 10.48 months of inventory in Mt. Pleasant.  These two areas make up a large portion of the market with 1633 of the 8985 located in Mt. Pleasant, and 1384 in Summerville.  What are the implications???  There is slight upward pressure on pricing where supplies are smaller, and we may see prices finally coming down in Mt. Pleasant.  There is some evidence that this is already happenning, but not much.  Overall, average prices in Mt. Pleasant continue to increase at a moderate rate.  Three months should tell the story.  Dorchester County should already be seeing an end to the buyers’ market while Mt. Pleasant may go in the opposite direction.  Even inside Mt. Pleasant, performance can vary wildly.  In Ivy Hall, for instance, there were 3 sales in March, with a current inventory of 10. 

Inventories have already cleared to a significant extent in the Summerville Area, (areas 61-64 Dorchester County if you’re searching on the MLS), so we are seeing things normalize here, no longer a buyers market.  There is still plenty of selection, but finding motivated sellers will become more difficult.  You can also look for new construction incentives go away in Dorchester County.  In Mt. Pleasant, it could be a very good time to find a motivated seller.  Time is in your favor, so if you have until early August to get moved in before school starts, you have a couple of more months yet to watch the market. 

Buyers beware.  Buyer’s agents are very tempted by new construction incentives.  Real Estate is more competitive than ever from an agent perspective, with more agents fighting for a smaller supply of buyers, and a 6% buyer rep commission is very tempting, especially for agents that haven’t seen a paycheck in awhile.   Beazer, Brentwood, and DR Horton are all offering huge commission bonuses.  So, make sure you do your homework on these communities, speak to previous customers, take your time driving through the community, even stop and talk to your future neighbors and ask them about their buying experience.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask about additional incentives to the agent.  With an extra $6000 in commission on a $200,000 house, you may be able to negotiate more than the typical house warming gift.  Go for the refrigerator and the fence in the back yard. 

Sellers, consider incentives yourselves.  Especially carpet, paint, roofing, and decorating allowances.  Be prepared to talk to buyers about having the home ready to their specifications before move in.  Your agent should be able to put you in touch with contractors to go ahead and have estimates ready.  Lenders may not allow the buyers to recieve a check at closing, but they may be OK with a check made out to a licensed contractor.  So, be ready to get creative.   Preparation could be the difference between your home being selected, and a buyer picking a home in better condition, or new construction.  And you may consider offering out 4% to the buyers agent instead of the traditional 3.  And if the listed commission is less than 3%, you’re probably going to be in your home an extra couple of months at least.  If you have to sell your home to avoid making two home payments, then you definately want to consider any ideas that will get your home sold more quickly. 

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