Wow! It’s been a changing year for real estate sales in Columbus, IN and surrounding communities. As much as we want to deny our dependence and our soar or sink market – to be tied to Cummins, we still are linked. Late 2015 and into early 2016, Cummins downsized. Some of it was big notoriety – much of it was more personal and smaller scale. I don’t judge their decision to let workers go – they found duplication and extra people thru reorganization and that’s just how it goes for big corporations. But, for those buying and selling homes in our area, it kept things very quiet and very lowkey. Houses still sold – but far less. Inventory has been down for over 3 years now and we are beginning to wonder if that will be the new tide. Will inventory always be lower and rather than ‘waiting’ for houses to start coming up – we need to seize the ones we have for sale.

Regardless, our market took a sizable decrease in certain price points. For many ‘would be buyers’ who were renting – these corporate firings would hold them back from wanting to buy. And, that effects the move uppers. So, other than the 1-150k market – all price points were affected. I’d also say that the upper end market – anything over 500k went quiet…and still is. A few higher end sales pepper the statistics but for the most part they are/were very slow.

I’ve been selling homes in this area for over 21 years. And, when I first started we got real estate books at the beginning of each week and clients would come by the office to look thru the book. We did phone time – we placed ads in newspapers and open houses were widely attended. So so so much has changed in such a short time! One of the biggest changes I have seen that sellers struggle with is the best ‘time’ to sell. Used to – when summers were longer (I wish they still were) people really tried to get their houses up for sale in late April – to early June and then complete the sale and purchase of another home by late August so that they were all moved in by the time school started…. And, while, I understand all the reasons for that – this ‘season’ to sell is rapidly changing.

For one thing – shorter summer (for those in k-12)… you can’t buy and sell and have a fun filled family summer…in 8 weeks. So, people are opting for selling once the kids are back in school – it’s becoming the before Christmas holiday and after Christmas holiday selling season… Although the after Christmas one – begins mid Feb.

Secondly, businesses typically hire when there is need – not necessarily by some internal clock. So, the rush of buyers coming in April only – doesn’t really exist anymore.

The best time to score a deal on a house….is January. It’s cold – It’s snowy – chances are they are motivated.

I expect fall 2016 to be fairly busy with people moving about and venturing out into the market to shop for homes. Prices are dropping, interest rates are still low, and at least in our area – fear of losing your job has subsided. Statewide, in July, housing sales cooled down by 12%. I don’t have exact figures for the Columbus, IN – market…but I’d estimate it is slightly higher.

Happy Hunting!

REMAX National Housing Update:

Unlike the month’s temperatures, July home sales cooled off from June’s highest year-to-date level. In the RE/MAX National Housing Report analysis of 53 U.S. cities, July sales fell in 49 markets by 8.8% from July 2015 and by 13.1% from June. Over the last seven years, the average drop in sales from June to July has been 8.2%. The Median Sales Price dropped slightly from June to $225,000, which is still 4.7% higher than one year ago. At the same time, inventory continued to tighten by dropping 3.0% lower than June and 16.6% lower than a year ago, resulting in a Months Supply of just 3.5. Five metro areas reported an inventory supply of less than two months. Meanwhile, the average Days on Market dropped to 53 which is just one day less than the average in June and four days below last year.