You may have noticed the market is shifting. Average days on market compared to the spring of this year are down and in 90 days you can look back on what’s happening now and see that buyer challenges have eased somewhat after running with the bulls for a couple steady years. You’ll see slightly lower list price to sale price ratios and slightly longer average days on market.

This data is not terribly interesting except for one thing – what’s it mean to a buyer or seller? What can/ should they do to make the most of the evolving market conditions? Great questions.

I spoke to a guy recently who said “I’ll just wait to buy for a year, prices are going to go down.” Lets look that dead in the eye. The MA Assoc of Realtors reports that 32 of the last 33 months average home values have gone up or remained flat while at the same time reporting that 77 of the past 78 months home inventory has gone down. Likewise, the Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Boston area shows a steady upward vector in home values going back to 2010. So… prices are not going to go down. They will almost certainly go up steadily but less dramatically than over the past couple years, but they are also almost certainly not going anywhere but up.

Why is this NOT a negative for buyers? Well… if you buy at 500k and in 10 years sell for 750k, how is that different from buying at 550k and in 10 years selling for 800k? I’ll tell you how… amortization. Now, today, at 500k you will get a lower interest rate than later at 550k, meaning you will pay less in your actual monthly costs to a mortgage lender by a LOT. It doesn’t always pay to wait.

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